Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ketchup (no, no. Catch-up)

Yes, once a month is a PERFECTLY reasonable blogging schedule. Why do you ask?

(If you ever want to know what I'm up to, by the way, I'm on twitter all blooming day, many days, chattering like a maniac.)

Anyway. Much has gone on since I last typed in this box:

--TWO trips to Oregon. The first was for the fabulous second annual KT Literary retreat (see pics here!), which was my first time meeting other lovely KT clients. You guys: they all rock. It was a small sampling, but I can't wait to meet more. It was a bit rainy in Portland (shock), but we got in lots of wandering and book-browsing and chatting and eating yummies.

--The second was last weekend, a work-ish trip to go see our football team play their last regular game of the season. We'd won 8 in a row, practically unheard of for our team, so we were hoping to finish it out strong and celebrate in the other team's stadium. Not so much...we got crushed. *sigh* Still was mildly fun. And we're still in the playoffs, starting this weekend!

--I finished a book.

*secret smile*

Okay, not REALLY. I finished a DRAFT of a book, an extremely short, extraordinarily rough draft. But still, it's all in one piece so I can attack it and make it better now. Starting today! I meant to dive right in the next day, but the last trip intervened, and today's the first day I can. So I WILL. *looks at draft* *is only a little scared, mostly excited* *and scared* *a little*

Hope all is well with you, lovely peoples. Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Christmas?

Hahahahahahahahaha. Yeah. Me either.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gallivanting

I'm resting a little bit this week. Well-deserved, I think, after three consecutive 3-day weekend trips to Billings, then LA/Del Mar, then Denver. I love trips and exploring, but WHEW.

Of course "resting" includes catching up on piles of work, piles of laundry, and piles of dishes. But hey, it's familiar. Comforting. :)

I am such an INFT/J.

Anyway, I did have some great trips. I saw a concert at the Hollywood Bowl with husband! Saw his childhood home, and schools (he kept saying "they're so small"). Went to the amazing Emily Hainsworth's book launch! Saw a play of THE GIVER with an old friend!

AND I met my wonderful agent, Kate Schafer Testerman. She's bouncy and smart and funny and though I knew it before, the visit absolutely confirmed I'm in excellent hands.

Proof!


We went out for crepes, YUM. Though next time I am totally getting the Crepe Suzette.

I also learned a few things about myself on this solo trip:

  • I talk back to the GPS. Often. Not even swearing, but conversationally.
  • When I'm alone in a hotel room, I only turn on the TV as a last resort. I wrote over 3k on New Book (yay) and read a ton: TEN by Gretchen McNeil (spooky), REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS by Helene Boudreau (fun), and the one that's currently sucked me into its world wholeheartedly, CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson. I love my Kindle, though I guess that's not news.
  • I thought I was good at packing, but apparently NOT. I realized five minutes into the first flight that I'd totally forgotten to pack the dress pants I needed for the next day, so I had to go buy some. And I didn't pack any casual clothes to hang around and write in on Sunday. Urgh.
  • I also apparently suck at taking pics of myself! The above picture Kate took is the only evidence of the trip at all--I didn't take one pic with Emily. At least I'm not one of those many  people constantly walking around with my nose stuck in my phone.
    No, my nose is stuck in my Kindle. :)
So I have a couple weeks at home (with major work/life events) before I head out again on another solo trip, this time to Portland at the end of October. I'm already making my list of things to improve. Pack better, take pictures...but I think that reading and writing part can stay the same.

*~*~

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall Bounciness

Tonight is forecasted to be the first real frost--I'll have to get out there and cover our fledgling pumpkins with sheets, bring the hanging strawberries into the garage for the night. You'd think this would make me sad...the end of our perfect summer weather.

It actually makes me bouncy.

I adore Fall. It's my favorite season by far. Why?

  • The light changes utterly. It slants orange across the yard, across my daughter's face as she helps me water. It's friendlier, calmer than strong summer light. It tells me things are changing.
  •  The wardrobe switch! By the end of August I'm tired of my small rotation of tank tops and capri pants, and ready to dive back into my massive pile of sweaters, jeans, and colorful stripy wool socks. Plus buy a few more, here and there. (my husband's cry: "Like you need any more sweaters!" Yes, I do.)
  • New boots. I discovered I really could wear high-heeled boots instead of flats last year (who knew?). Just got my third new pair to replace ones I wore out last year. LOVE them!
  • The scents. Break out the Spiced Cider, Hot Toddy, and Pumpkin Vanilla scented candles! I am READY. But beyond that, fall itself smells fresh to me. Leaves, wet pavement, browning grass, pencils. Aaah.
  • Candy corn! But mostly, Jelly Belly's Autumn mellocreme mix. YUM.
  • Most of all, it's a new start. For my daughter school starts, of course, but also art classes and dance, and this year, clarinet lessons. Since I work on a college campus, everything starts up around here too, and the whole place is busting with energy and excitement. Plus sports: football! Volleyball! Basketball! Our schedule goes from nearly empty to packed full.


I do think of the tragedy of September 11 today, of course, like everyone. I remember that day very clearly. I was pregnant with my daughter, and I was petrified of the future she was going to be born into very soon. But she is here, and happy, and doing well. And with Fall comes HOPE. I feel like I can start again, and succeed. Everyone gets a new chance, including me. Including you.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Winner winner chicken dinner

**AND THE WINNER IS....**

Sandy!!

Congratulations, Sandy!! Email me your address at susan (dot) adrian (at) yahoo (.com), and I'll get your prize on its way to you. I KNOW you'll enjoy it. Especially since you picked Billy. ;)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

IN A FIX release day + giveaway!!

GUYS. Today is a VERY EXCITING DAY.

It's the *release* (book birthday) of the debut novel by my very good friend and crit partner, Linda Grimes!


WOOOHOOOO!!!

Linda and I have been online friends and writing compatriots for...10 years? (or more) We connected on Compuserve Writer's Forum back in the day, both nestled into a small writer's support group (Kickass Writer Chicks), and then both moved on to a different but also amazing small writer's support group (Team Sparkle). We've emailed each other through many books, queries, agent-crises, submission-crises, writing highs, plot craziness, and personal Stuff. We've met twice, on two different coasts, and had a few phone calls, some in tears. I was one of the first people to read IN A FIX and fall in love with Ciel (and Mark and Billy). I am SO VERY proud and excited to see her book out there in the world, where everyone else can read it too!

To celebrate, and to thank Linda for all her support, I'm going to give away a copy of IN A FIX to one lucky winner.

To tantalize you, here's the book blurb from Goodreads:
The start of an original new urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.
 Doesn't that sound fabulous? So here's all you have to do to win:

1. Comment below, saying (even if you haven't read the book) whether you think you'd be Team Mark or Team Billy. BOTH ARE GOOD CHOICES.
2. Have an address in North America where I can send the book.
3. Enter by 5 PM Mountain time TOMORROW, September 5th. That's right, you have TWO DAYS to enter, and that's it!

I'll send you a copy direct from a lovely online bookstore!

**contest is closed!!** winner will be announced TOMORROW!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Writers and Parties

Like most writers I know, I've got a little bit of social anxiety. If given a choice and able to be completely honest, I'd rather stay home with a book and a computer than go to a big party or social function. But for real-life reasons I find myself having to go to quite a lot of these events. I thought I'd illustrate in pictures what going to a party is like for me...and probably many of you!

All pictures are public domain from Flickr Commons.

BEFORE THE PARTY:

Oh my God, what did I do? Why do I have to go to this? It's going to be awful, I know it. BREATHE.


DURING THE PARTY:

Wow, there are a lot of people here. I even know some of them! This isn't so bad.

Not bad at all. These people are actually pretty funny! And I think maybe they even get me. See, they laughed.
This guy even looks like GARY COOPER. And I think I'm being passably charming. Woot! Success!



 AFTER THE PARTY:

Oh my GOD what did I say? I think that one guy who looked like Gary Cooper looked at me funny. I probably sounded like an idiot. Ugh. And that dress. I probably should've worn a different dress.

Oh well, I'd rather read anyway.

Or write. Damn, this character is witty at parties. I am good.
I think.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What to Do When You're Waiting

If you've been around the publishing business for more than 5 minutes, you know a couple of things:
(1) it's about half work and half waiting and (2) publishing has its own time dimension. A slow....motion....thenquickmotionrightnow dimension, with its own rules.

It's no one's fault--it's just the nature of the beast. Publishing is an extremely collaborative process, so EVERYBODY has to wait for other people at some point. Agents wait. Editors wait. Sales, Marketing, Design...all of us. And, of course, writers. We often wait for long stretches, hope soaring, doubt clinging stubbornly to its tail. You don't have to enjoy it, but you do have to get used to it.

But there are Things that you can do--and that you shouldn't do. I've listed a few ideas, but please feel free to chime in with more!

THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU'RE WAITING:

1. Work.
No matter how this process goes, no matter who you're waiting on, this truth is always the same: you're going to need a next book. Maybe not the sequel of the book you've got out there, but something. New, different. Something that excites you. Something to remind yourself that as a writer, you WRITE. And you're learning things every day about craft, about people, about characters and plots and the world around you...so it's very likely this new book will be even BETTER than the last one. Make it so to the best of your ability. Work like nothing else is going on, like it's your first try. Always, always, keep working.

2. Read.
You write because you love reading, right? Right? See what your colleagues are doing, the books that made it onto the shelf or the Kindle/Nook/thingum. Read great books, entertaining books, bad books. Read all those books by your friends that have piled up, and books you've stumbled across. Read in your genre and outside of it. Read. Pay attention. Absorb. (Enjoy.)

3. Look around you.
Oh my gosh, did you know it's summer? A lot of people are outside doing things under that yellow blazing ball. Try it, instead of chaining yourself to your email refresh button. Go for a walk, a drive, a swim. Hang out at a cafe without your nose being stuck in a computer, and watch people. If you don't get out and watch/interact with people, you won't keep learning, and your books won't get better. Maybe even play. If you have family, do something with them! (gasp)

4. Be bad.
This just means let yourself do stuff you normally wouldn't do...in moderation. Watch reality TV marathons, or go get ice cream, or play video games all night. You're under a lot of stress. It's okay to relax and treat yourself sometimes, and this is one of those times.

5. Remember that it really won't be forever.
Even when it feels like it. Also, good things take a while and are worth the effort AND the wait.

THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE WAITING:

1. Don't harass people.
Just don't. Whether it's agents you've queried, or your agent, or editors or whoever, leave them alone. Let them do their business. They are NOT focused on you--your manuscript is a very small part of their very busy lives. Wait in line like everyone else, with grace.
(I interrupt this post to note that one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is line-jumpers, in any form. Hate it. It is so rude and disrespectful. I think it's my British ancestry.)
Note: It is TOTALLY OKAY to harass your writing friends a little bit during this waiting time. They get it, and they have either been through it themselves or they will. Just remember to be patient when it's their turn to harass you.
Second Note: It is always okay to ask respectful questions too, especially of your agent. Absolutely. Just don't go over the line to harass. You can feel where that line is. You know. Be professional.

2. Don't whine about waiting.
You know how I said above that we all have to wait? It's true. It's not going to endear you to anyone--or make them want to work with you--if you're the only one out there whining about it. Be a grown-up and be patient. Be positive, at least in public.
 (It is still TOTALLY OKAY to whine to your friends. That is part of the reason they are there.)

3. Don't give up.
I mean it. Don't. Give. Up. You will never ever ever make your dreams if you give up. (and this is from someone who tried...it didn't stick.) If you keep a good attitude, are professional, keep working and improving your writing, and ARE PATIENT, you'll do it, whatever your goal is.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Folk Festival Weekend!

This past weekend was our 5th Folk Festival here in town, and it's still a wonderful event. We have such a good time! The three of us wandered all over listening to live music from different countries, lying in the sun (and ducking the massive thunderstorms, but we lived), eating good fair food, and rocking out. We saw musicians from:
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Congo
  • Iran
  • Azerbaijan
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • Nova Scotia
plus Hawaii, New Orleans, Texas blues, rockabilly...honestly. They were ALL amazing.

Here's just a tiny sample of one of the best acts we saw. If you ever get a chance to see live Japanese Taiko drumming, DO. They had the whole tent standing, cheering, and clapping as best we could in time.


Friday, July 06, 2012

The woo-woo story of how I met my husband

The year I met my husband didn't start out so well.

I'd been having a rough time. I'd graduated with an English degree (with honors!), but there was a nasty recession and nobody was hiring people with newly minted English degrees, honors or no. I scrambled for a job, any job. I remember offering to work unpaid for the local newspaper for a while, just so they'd give me a chance. No dice. Finally a friend hooked me up as a clerk for a major bookstore chain in San Diego, and we roomed together (with others) to save money.

That worked, for a while. But I...fell in with some people. Started smoking. Started drinking Scotch, pretending to be tough. I thought I was in love with my boss, who was cute in a ne'er-do-well sort of way, but was already living with one woman and constant-flirting with another.

I was miserable.

On New Year's Eve, I broke. One of my friends from college had come down to visit, and I'd been hoping Bad Boy from work would show up to our party, but he didn't. I lost it--got waaaay too drunk, cried a lot, got sick a lot. Poor friend from college.

The next morning, in my hungover, regretful haze, I grabbed my calendar for the new year. I flipped open to a random page, stuck my finger on a random day, and wrote:

I will change my life by this day.

March 26th. I forgot about it, later. Drifted through the days doing what I was doing, being largely unhappy. Got promoted to Manager Trainee, started traveling to stores around the district, covering where they needed it.

On one of these trips I met a super-hot Assistant Manager. He was funny too, and smart. The next day he called me to ask a question, and we talked for 5 hours. He asked me out--we had a disastrous, yet perfect, first date that's another story. Three months later we moved in together. On Christmas morning that year he asked me to marry him, and I squealed in happiness. There was no question. There was no stupid Scotch-drinking, and we quit smoking together (and ate pounds of chocolate cake in the process). We traveled all over California, we got better jobs. We were together, from then on.

It was only later, the next year, when I flipped through the pages of that calendar and realized it.

I'd met him on March 26th. That very day. And it changed my life.

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband, who gets me in every way. These 16 years have treated us pretty well, together, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

This week so far in pictures

Sometimes the word part of my brain gets a little overworked, and I revert to pictures to express what's going on. So far, this is the week in pictures:

This is where we fish, and where we spent all day Sunday. Aaaaah. (Plus, there's nothing quite like the feeling of pulling in a fat brook trout!)

This is me trying to figure out what happens next in T2. I hit 50k on Sunday, which means this draft is getting close to the end, and requires some heavy plot-thinking...(also, this is actually from Blue's Clues, which Child was addicted to when she was small. We did many Blues Clues hunts in our house)

I got Trish's book in the mail yesterday!! Woot!!

I am doing my very best not to do this, in spite of a  whole bunch of life changes going on right now. Mostly good, just change-y!

And last, this is (roughly) what I'm going to see tonight! By long tradition we do fireworks, our own and the town's, on the 3rd here. Tomorrow is for sleeping in and the parade!

What are you up to this week? Are you on vacation like EVERYONE ELSE IN MY OFFICE?


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Things that Make Me Happy Today

Every once in a while I like to pause the craziness for five minutes and reflect on what is making me happy RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT. Here's today's happiness list:

--My fantabulous agent, Kate Schafer Testerman, who manages to be calm, kind, AND encouraging
--The weather, which has dropped from a little-too-hot 89 yesterday to 77 today. Family bike ride, we are coming at you tonight!
--Salt and Vinegar almonds. I can totally pretend these are healthy.
--Pandora radio, rocking me out right now
--T2, my current manuscript, which I love dearly because it keeps surprising me. Should hit 50k this week!
--Fellow authors and friends who keep up a steady stream of sparkles when I need it, and chat when all is cool. :)

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winners!!

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!!





The winner of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL is....

Rachael Allen!

The winner of THIS IS NOT A TEST is...

Amanda!


(winners drawn with Random.org from all entries)

Rachael and Amanda, please email me at susan(dot)adrian (at) yahoo (dot) com with your addresses, so I can send you your fantabulous prizes!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GIVEAWAY: SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL and THIS IS NOT A TEST!!

*NOTE: Contest is now closed. Thanks to those who entered!*

Today's an exciting day for readers. TWO amazeballs books are releasing today! TWO books that I am so very excited for readers to get in their hands and devour and love, in different ways.

First is a book I haven't had a chance to read yet, but believe me, I can't wait.

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is not your standard contemporary. First, it's from the boy's perspective--but more than that, Travis is a Marine, back from a tour in Afghanistan. Here's the summary:

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero. (from Goodreads)


I've known Trish since we were both hanging around at Verla Kay's Blueboards, writing different books, querying, going through the process. I always liked Trish's avatar because it looked so hopeful, so friendly. Her posts were friendly too, and smart. I was thrilled when I discovered that my new agent represented Trish too--we're agent sisters!--and she's been very supportive of me.


But that's not why I think you should read this book. It's not why *I* want to read this book. I want to read it because of reviews like this one, about SLN's emotional honesty:


http://youngadultanonymous.blogspot.com/2012/06/review-something-like-normal-by-trish.html


and this one, which says it's an "important, timely novel" but also talks about the strengths of the romance, and the realism:


http://cleareyesfullshelves.com/blog/early-review-something-like-normal-by-trish-doller.html


Yeah. So that's Reason #1 to be excited about today as a reader. You can buy that book!


Second is a book I HAVE read, and loved. GUYS. COURTNEY SUMMERS HAS A NEW BOOK OUT TODAY, AND IT'S ABOUT ZOMBIES!!

This Is Not a Test.




Well. It's not really about zombies. It's about people: damaged, hurting, REAL people who happen to have to deal with zombies. Here's my review from Goodreads:


***
I've loved all of Courtney's books, and I expected to like this one--she is such a talented writer, she can pull anything off. Even zombies! I admit, I'm not a zombie fan--but this book isn't about zombies at all. It's about people: how they relate, how they react in difficult circumstances, and really, how they can completely mess each other up--and redeem each other.

Courtney's amazing skill lies in opening a vein directly to a character and letting us in to that private, real world. That skill hasn't changed just because this book has zombies. Sloane is very, very real and heartbreaking in her pain, but she was still someone I wanted to spend time with and understand. All the other characters are also deeply realized, complex people in their own right.

The zombie setting is well done and keeps you on the edge of your seat, but in the end it's Sloane's journey I found most compelling
.

Read it. Trust me.

***

 I have to tell you too--in just a little aside--how awesome Courtney is. She's been an incredibly supportive friend to me for years now, and I have a sneaking suspicion she is the same with a ton of other writers. Courtney emails have made me cry, have gotten me through, have made me laugh out loud more than once. I think she deserves the best of everything.


She just also happens to write effing kick-ass amazing books, which I am so happy to support.


So here's where you say WEREN'T YOU GOING TO GIVE AWAY A BOOK, SUSAN?


Why, yes. Yes, I was. Not only that, I am going to GIVE AWAY TWO BOOKS, one of each.


Here is ALL you have to do:


--Comment on this post and tell me which book you'd like, Something Like Normal or This Is Not a Test (or if you want either, say that too!) You'll be entered!


--You get an extra entry if you tweet about the contest! Just make sure to @susan_adrian so I see it!


--Contest will be open until Thursday morning, June 22, 8 am MDT. North American entries only, please (sorry!) The winners will have the books shipped directly to them.


Let's all celebrate this Excellent Reader Day!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Triplet Talk: The Thrilling Conclusion


Welcome to the thrill-a-minute conclusion of Triplet Talk, a chat with Kate Schafer Testerman and her 3 brand-new clients: myself, Elizabeth Briggs, and Krista Van Dolzer.

I hope you've come here by way of the other 3 installments, or to be honest, it's not going to make a ton of sense! If you haven't and you'd like to start at the beginning, here are the links:


And now, Part 4, featuring last bits of advice, guns, and puppies! (Dum dum dum....) 

*****

Krista: I'll throw my last question out there, then, unless anyone has any others...?

Susan: Perfect.

Kate: Go ahead!

Liz: Yep.

Krista: For Liz and Susan, now that you’ve reached the querying finish line, what do you wish you had known when you were back at the start gate? And for Kate, any last words of advice or encouragement you’d like to share with us?

Liz: Hmm.

Susan: As usual, I will twist that to my own purposes. Ha! I don't have much with the querying process, but I have to say: please, please, find the agent who's the RIGHT fit for you, not just any agent.

Krista: Susan, it sounds to me like you're saying that writers should only query those agents they'd genuinely like to work with. It doesn't do you any good to query someone you'd rather not sign with.

Susan: Yes, and don't just say yes to the first person who offers. Research, talk to clients.

And once you have an agent, communicate and make SURE it's still a right fit. I ended up leaving my previous agent after 3 years and it was petrifying to take the leap and leave that safety net, but I am so much happier now for my future. It was the right choice, and it's critical.

Liz: According to my husband I am THE most impatient person in the world. And when you hear stories like "I queried and the next day got an offer," it's hard to not think "THAT WILL BE ME." So I would have wanted to know that waiting doesn't always mean it will be a no, and to just be patient. Also good submission advice.

Krista: So true, Liz.

Kate: Let's see. Personal to you guys, I would say remember I'm always here, and you can always ask me anything! More generally, I think working on your writing now is good, but don't forget to get in some reading for pleasure too. When you all sign multi-book contracts, and have to deliver book two quickly, you'll miss these days of free time!

Susan: Yes, Liz! Kate, here's hoping!

Patience and perseverance.

Liz: Fingers crossed.

Krista: I've learned not to compare myself to others. Their successes aren't my failures, so I can cheer with them and cry with them. We really are all in this together (even if we're not all triplets, like the three of us).

Liz: Yeah, that is tough too. Everyone's journey is different.

Susan: Good point, Krista. Comparing does NOT work during subs.

Krista: Oh, I definitely read for pleasure. I get through, like, two books a week.

Kate: *is jealous*

Susan: Me too. I can't read much when first-drafting!

Krista: Hey, baby's gotta eat, mama's gotta read.

Liz: Haha.

Kate: I read a lot more in those early days with Beau. Of course, I picked the WORST books! I mean, good books, but very bad for a new momma.

Susan: I read all of the Harry Potter books aloud to Child when I was nursing. We're about to start reading them together now...and I wonder if they'll sound vaguely familiar...

Liz: Heh.

Krista: That's a fun thought, Susan.

How were they bad for a new mom, Kate?

Liz: I have no kids. But the dogs like to sit with me when I read. Very helpful.

Krista: Very helpful dogs, indeed, Liz.

Kate: Living Dead Girl by Liz Scott and Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, to name a few. But also most of the Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, and Diana Peterfreund's unicorn hunter books.

Liz: They sit on my feet when I write too.

Kate: Puppies!

Susan: Oh, love Diana's unicorn books.

Kate: Jake is keeping me company while I work.

Susan: Jake...the puppy?

Kate: Jake is one of my dogs, Dizzy is the other.

Susan: Ha! Because Jake the character keeps me company while I work...

Krista: Oh, I thought Susan's MC had somehow climbed out of her manuscript, and we were all going to find out that urban fantasy is REAL.

Kate: As well he should! I just realized what I said! Duh!

Susan: HA.

Liz: Susan's book is magic obviously.

Susan: Clearly. He has assumed puppy form.

Kate: There you go, Susan, next time you get stuck in the plot, turn Jake into a puppy.

Susan: I can say my agent told me to do that.

Liz: Good plan.

Kate: It's a cuddlier version of "blow something up."

Susan: Yes! Generally though I just like to bring in a gun. Krista and Liz, that might not work for you...

Liz: Totally works for my book.

Susan: *high-five Liz*

Krista: Uh, no. I'm pretty sure firearms aren't allowed in most middle schools... :)

Liz: I took a firearms class to research my book

Susan: Oh now I'm jealous.

Kate: OK, I should go get the boy.

Krista: See you guys later! It's been wonderful chatting!

Susan: Thank you so much!

Liz: Yeah this was fun!

*****

Th-Th-That's All, Folks! We certainly had fun. I hope it was fun (or funny) for you too, and informative. It definitely shows that agents are people too--and that your relationship with your agent IS a professional one, but doesn't have to be all seriousness.

Also, I hope we intrigued you a little about our books!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go write a scene where Jake turns into a puppy....

Friday, June 08, 2012

Truth

I've kept a few secrets from you, blog.

Sometimes you knew, like I when I was pointing you at fuzzy kittens instead.

Sometimes I hid it pretty well, even when I was having really rough time. Or I just didn't post at all for a month.

But the truth is I quit writing last year, when it got impossible to go on. And then a story brought me back, with full, blazing love.

The full truth, if you're curious, is in my Turning Points post on Nova Ren Suma's blog today.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A ramble on nerd-dom

I'm a nerd, or a geek.1 I don't try to hide it--it's right there in my bio, if you couldn't guess from the glasses I'm wearing. I'm proud of it. And I'm SO happy to be currently living in a world that celebrates nerds, at least in some ways. When I was in grammar school, let's just say nerds were not celebrated.

*uncomfortable flashback to grammar school lunchroom*

Whew. Okay, zoom right past THAT. Nothing to see there.

Anyway. I've been thinking lately about how varied, and accepting, the geek world is--and how even if they don't realize it, or own it, most people I know and love are geeks in some way. It started with a quote @MarthaMihalick posted on Twitter (via @brainpicker):
  
"Being a geek is all about your own personal level of enthusiasm, not how your level of enthusiasm measures up to others. If you like something so much that a casual mention of it makes your whole being light up like a halogen lamp, if hearing a stranger fondly mention your favorite book or game is instant grounds for friendship, if you have ever found yourself bouncing out of your chair because something you learned blew your mind so hard that you physically could not contain yourself — you are a geek."
 As I read that, I thought THAT IS SO ME. I don't hide enthusiasm for the things I love. I bounce and squee and grin like a fool at the TV as Sherlock is figuring something out or Chuck kisses Sarah. It's the open, shining enthusiasm that makes a geek, the obsession with little details, the fascination with all things related to whatever we love. It does make us easy to pick on, to mock--but it also keeps us stocked up with joy.
 
 Over the years I've changed the things I'm geeky about. Of course it's books...it was always books. I've been a book nerd since I could hold one in my little hands, or have my own library card. But I've also been a ballet nerd. A drama geek. A Shakespeare geek specifically. (Even a Chaucer geek! I wrote a book called The Murderess's Tale, set in 1387 England...) A science geek. (Wait, I'm still that too!) A brain science geek. I learned to program computers in Basic in 7th grade. My husband and I were obsessed with Myst, once upon a time, and that Frankenstein video game we still quote. I love Princess Bride and Star Wars (the originals, of course) and Star Trek Enterprise. I'm crazy about Buffy and Jason Bourne and, of course, Chuck.
 
 Sometimes I doubt my nerd cred, because I don't like Doctor Who, and I'm not a particular fan of high fantasy. I've never read George R.R Martin. But you know what, nerds? That's OKAY. To call yourself a nerd you don't have to ascribe to all the same things as everyone else you know...you just need to love what you love, unabashedly.
 
 My husband, in spite of playing a few video games here and there, doesn't think of himself as a nerd--he doesn't like fantasy or science fiction, and he doesn't geek out over shows and movies like I do. BUT he's a total airplane nerd. If there's a show or a book or a website about airplanes, he's on it. If you ask him a question about the P-47's use in WWII and how the handling compares to the P-51, he knows. I think that qualifies.
 
 I think maybe because geeks/nerds are a little out of the realm of the real world in their own ways, they recognize and appreciate the nerdiness of others, even if it's not about the same thing. So yeah, Star Wars geeks might make fun of Trekkies (Trekkers, I know), but in the end they are in the same camp, on the same side. The passionate side of life.
 
What do you think, fellow nerds? What are you passionate about? What flips your switch? Has it changed over the years?
 
 And do you think nerds are more accepting of other nerds, even with different passions, than non-nerds are? Or are we all just in our separate nerd camps, with some overlap? 
 
 Live long and prosper, and Don't Freak Out.





1I tried to decide if I was really one or the other based on this article (http://www.wikihow.com/Tell-the-Difference-Between-Nerds-and-Geeks), but I don't think the differences they cite are valid. I fall into both and neither, as described! So I'm using them interchangeably. So there.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Towel Day!

Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.

Happy Towel Day, Froods! 




In honor of Douglas Adams, one of my favorite authors of ALL TIME.


He wasn't afraid to let his geek flag fly and let his writing go where it wanted to go, and he inspired the heck out of me, among thousands (millions?) of others.


And for my own spin on it, mixing genres a tiny bit:






Friday, May 18, 2012

The Best Part

I had an interesting discussion on Twitter yesterday (yes, it's possible, doubters!) about which part of book-writing is the best. I was extolling the happiness of first-drafting, and was surprised that every single one of the authors I was talking to strongly preferred revising to the blank page.

Which made me think...WHY? (why do different people like different bits, and why am I loving the first draft?)



If there's one thing I've learned over the past few years, it's that not only are no two writers alike...no two BOOKS are alike. The process always twists to the needs of the book. For example, the last book was the first time I'd ever written with a playlist, and used the music as part of my creative process. So I know better than to generalize, even for myself.

But for the last book I wrote and the one I'm writing now, I definitely, definitively love the first draft part of writing. Perhaps unreasonably. For these books, it's like I truly am telling the story to myself, so every day a little piece of the puzzle is revealed. Plot points shift, I'm aware of pacing and larger themes, and I have a whole notebook of where-this-needs-to-go and don't-forget-this and these-are-the-threads-you're-balancing-now (currently, 11 threads! Ha!). But day to day, it's all about the story for me. As my friend Linda Grimes has said, it's like an interactive movie.

Also, in the first draft everything still seems POSSIBLE. Not only for the character, but for the book. It can still be genius, with amazing twists and turns. I'm still at the start of the process, so this is all still just me and the page--I know I will have many chances to go over it and get it right, so now I can play and explore and have fun.

I enjoy doing revision too (I am an editor, after all, in my daily life), and later passes where I can strengthen and layer and add better twists and plot developments and setting, and make everything work. But somehow with every draft it seems like my opportunities narrow, a little. I'm working with already existing words and story, and flexing it (or taking it apart and rearranging it) to make it the best I can, but it's not all blank possibility.

But I'm sure I'm forgetting things here, just looking at my own experience with these last two books particularly. I'd really like to hear from you. What is the best part of the process for you? Why?

Please answer in the comments! If we get enough discussion maybe I can do a follow up from the reviser's perspective.


Friday, May 04, 2012

Winner of Boy 21

And the winner of a copy of BOY 21 is...

Shiela Calderon Blankemeier!!

Congratulations, Shiela! Email me (susan dot adrian at yahoo dot com) with your address!

And Happy Friday, everybody! I am particularly happy today because New Book (T2 is its code name) is going well...

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Boys

Recently--okay, when I was talking with agents--I made a list, in case anyone asked me, of my most recent LOVED books. It seems like there have been many of them lately, an Abundance of Awesome, and it was tough to pick and choose. But when I studied my carefully whittled-down list, I noticed a certain trend. See if you can spot it.

Susan's Recent LOVE books:

I HUNT KILLERS (Barry Lyga)
BLACK HEART (Holly Black)
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD (Kendare Blake)
NAME OF THE STAR (Maureen Johnson)
BOY 21 (Matthew Quick)

Do you see it?

With the exception of NAME OF THE STAR, all of those books have a boy MC. But these are the books that stood out for me, that I thought about into the night, that thrilled or touched me.

Boys. Teen boys. While I have been a teen girl, I was never a teen boy.

However, interestingly (and perhaps not coincidentally, *cough*), HAPPY SAUCE* has a boy MC too. So I have been in a boy's head for much of the past year, and I am now. And though I'm sure I'll write girls again (I do still love to read girl MCs too), I'm enjoying it very much.

What is it that I like about the boy POV as opposed to a girl's? What is it that's different? I'm still thinking this through. But a few things I'm positing as possibilities:

--Directness
Most of the boy MCs get right to the point, in words and actions. I also do this, so I appreciate it.

--Sparseness
I have never been a fan of long bits of description, setting, clothes, etc. Boys--at least my boy, I guess I shouldn't extrapolate--don't seem to do as much of this.

--Conversational style
I LOVE having dialogue where my boy says very little, but his thoughts are churning underneath in a million different directions. Just because he doesn't say much (and he doesn't) doesn't mean he's not deeply considering the issue. And then when he does say a lot it means more.

--Boy humor
I like boy humor. I always have. Except the fart jokes. Y'all can keep those. Also, side note, my boy is a gamer and a bit of a nerd, which is fun. I like having him play HALO and COD with his friends.

--Difference
For me, it's fascinating to explore the differences. To think about shaving and attraction to girls and male parts that don't behave (yes, I really just want to type boner there). To not have to think about shaving your legs or doing your hair or what shoes to wear. To have physical tasks come a bit more easily. To explore how his relationship with his sister is different, less competitive, than it would be if he were a girl.

It seems to me there are a bunch of good boy MC books coming out lately, and they're not necessarily just for the male teen audience. They're great books.

What about you? If you're a girl, or a woman, do you read male MCs? Do you like them?

If you're male, do you read/enjoy female MCs?

Also, on this theme, I happen to have a lovely ARC of BOY 21 by Matthew Quick sitting here next to me. See?


I think I should give it away. To get someone else reading about boys--but more particularly, to get this WONDERFUL book out there into the world more.

Do you want to win it? All you have to do is comment below. Simple. Direct. :)
(forgot to say when it closes--contest will be closed Friday morning, 8 am!) 

CLOSED TO FURTHER ENTRIES.



*I hope it's clear that HAPPY SAUCE is not its real name. It just made me so happy to write it that I called it that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Sauce!

Related to the New Agent news, I have to pop in to confess how THRILLED I am to be back at work on Happy Sauce.

While I was querying agents I tried to put that whole book world aside and work on other things, like you're supposed to. I bounced around a few good ideas before settling on one, doing some research and planning, and I was about 3k in when all this *waves hands* happened. Yes, that'll be a fun book, and I'll get back to it eventually, and maybe I'll fall in love with it too.

But Happy Sauce fills me up differently. It's my love book and always has been. And I'm working on it again. Right now! Yay!

/this message has been brought to you by the Insane Writers Society of America. You're welcome.

Friday, April 13, 2012

NEWS!!

When I was about 14, I discovered what first love felt like.

Not from real life. From a book--Mary Stewart's THE MOON-SPINNERS.* There's a scene in there somewhere where Nicola, the heroine, realizes there really is something between her and the Boy, that it's reciprocated...and that she's standing at the absolute start of something fabulous. The feeling is warm and fizzy and hopeful, and filled me up with possibility.

That's exactly the same feeling I had when I spoke with my new agent about my book.

Yes!! I am so very happy to announce that I have a new agent, Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary!

I would make her name be all sparkly up there if I could.

She understands the book so well, and shares my vision for it. We effused about the characters and their inspirations, and what will happen to them (poor Jake, I'm sorry), and what we hope for this book and the future. And I KNEW that this was the beginning, and that my career is in the right hands.

It's also rather nice that her client list is a Who's Who of What I Love or Want to Read. Seriously! Have you seen these people? Have you read their amazing books? Go! Look! http://ktliterary.com/clients/
(edited to add: Eee! I'm on there now! I wasn't when I posted this.)

Basically I'm thrilled, and fizzing to the brim. And I need to thank ALL the writer friends who helped me in this time of upheaval--with readings, recommendations, referrals, encouragement, sparkles, and most of all a steady stream of confidence that I *would* find the right person. Y'all rock. THANK you.

Now can we all stop for a moment and do a Snoopy dance? Yeah, baby!
Also...I LOVE THIS BOOK. Yay!!


*Last year, when I was in the middle of a very rough time writing-wise, I wrote to Mary Stewart. And she WROTE BACK. This was undoubtedly my biggest fangirl moment ever, standing there reading her letter of encouragement to me. It lives in my jewelry box now, where I see it every day.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Lessons from Home Ec

Watching Mad Men makes me flash back to the only part of my youth that was anything like the late 50s/early 60s: Home Ec.

I can't believe this class still existed when I was in high school--apparently now they've updated it to Culinary Arts. But when I was there, it was still full-on home ec. We learned cooking (sort of), but also sewing, deportment, why we shouldn't chew gum, and how to balance a checkbook. The teacher, a Joan Holloway type, tried her best to teach us to be proper ladies, with the subtext of being good wives and mothers.

Now that I've been a wife for a good many years and a mother for ten (and I am also a lot more than that besides, thank you very much), I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look back at some of those lessons we had, and see which ones are worth listening to.

Let's do it. HOME EC: Keep or Toss?

Lesson: How to Sit Like a Lady

The memory of this lesson still makes me laugh. We learned how to sit in that awkward way TV hosts and princesses do--with one leg crossed over the other, both slanted the same direction. There's no chance of under-skirt flashing, sure. But you also feel like a pretzel, and your legs get stiff and sore in about 2 minutes. I've never used this except to show people how silly it is.

Verdict: TOSS

Lesson: How to Walk Like a Lady

We donned high heels and walked across the room with spines straight, books balanced on our head. I am completely serious. It was just like Princess Diaries. The problem is whether you can balance books on your head depends more on whether your head is flattish on top than whether you have a straight spine. Plus it's ridiculous. I do think sitting up straight is valuable--I have a note on my monitor that says "Sit up straight!" because I don't and it hurts my back to slump. But walking with books?

Verdict: TOSS

Lesson: How to Put a Condom on a Banana

Um...on second thought I am totally skipping this one.

Lesson: How to Make Blueberry Muffins

The funny thing is all I remember from this lesson is that I failed it--because part of the lesson was to fold fresh blueberries in the batter with the correct technique so the batter didn't turn purple. My batter was bright purple, baby. FAIL. I do love to cook now, but I've never really needed the "folding blueberries" part.

Verdict: TOSS


Lesson: How to Put Make-up on So You Won't Wrinkle

This stuck with me more than anything else we learned. The teacher stressed that to avoid early wrinkles around your eyes, you should *always* put make-up or lotion on with your third (ring) finger. Somehow using your third finger put less pressure on the area than the other fingers, and presto when we were older like her we would not be all wrinkly. I have always put make-up on with my third finger. I gotta tell you, it kind of works.

Verdict: KEEP

What do you know? I learned something after all. Just don't ask me to sit like a princess or make white blueberry muffins, and we're all good.

I am pretty sure I'm not much of a lady, though. Also, I can't sew worth a damn. *shrug*

Please tell me someone else had Home Ec like this? Got any stories?


Monday, March 26, 2012

The State of Susan

It's been a while, so thought I'd catch you up with a random, minor sampling of what's going on over here.

1) The weather was good enough yesterday to go fishing on the river! I didn't catch a (bleep) thing, but hubby did, and it was a gorgeous day. And we saw river otters! A family of three, making their way upstream. They move just like Loch Ness monsters, but when they stopped to stare at us they were adorable. Sorry I didn't have my camera!

2) Here in Montana we tend to forget over the winter months that the bright round thing in the sky has the power to make our skin red if we're out in it all day. But yesterday we actually had the "Did you put sunscreen on yet? Nope. Did you? Nope." conversation. And still did nothing. So we all three totally deserve the red raccoon look we're sporting today. *sigh*

3) Now that Downton Abbey is over for the time being and we're caught up on The Office, hubby and I decided to try this "Mad Men" thing everyone's been talking about FOR FOUR YEARS. (I love Netflix) Yep, we liked it. We've been watching 2 a night. Almost done with season 1.

4) I'm working on a new book! The working title is MAD. No relation to Mad Men at all, but take from it what you will...

5) Still waiting for various things. Good thing I invested in those Big Girl Patience Pants. Now I have to get the Big Girl Productivity Pants working.

6) We're going to Washington, D.C. soon for a mini-vacation. I am SO EXCITED. I've never been, and am giddily planning out trips to the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian and the Spy Museum. Eeee!

/random update

Hope all is well in your corners!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

When you can't prepare

I always leave a little bit of water at the bottom of the glass.

It's not because I can't drink a whole glass of water, or because I need it as future ammo against aliens.* I've tried to figure it out, and I think it's my need to always consider and prepare for the future.

See, I might be thirsty in a while, and I'll NEED that leftover sip of water. It'll carry me through until I can get more. So I save it, just in case.

I also stuff chocolate in my desk. I very rarely finish a chocolate bar unless I have another one ready. Because I might NEED some. And what will happen if I'm totally out?

I am a terrible hoarder, in fact. My purse has Kleenex packs, mints (in case I feel sick), cough drops (in case I have a sudden cough), snack bags (duh), antacids, girl stuff, chapstick, a notebook and pen (what if I have an idea and there's nothing to write on?), etc. My office desk has repeats of all of the above, plus a toothbrush and toothpaste (I have never brushed my teeth at work), bandaids, and matches (?).

I like to lug all this stuff around with me. When I go to a fancy event with my husband where it's inappropriate to bring a huge purse, it makes me downright uncomfortable.

And most of the time I don't need any of it. But it's nice to have it there, ready. It's comforting, and it makes me feel on top of things.

So it kind of astonishes me sometimes that I've chosen a profession that has so very much uncertainty, and so much that is absolutely OUT of my control.

I can't carry mints to prepare against the crush of rejection.

I can't throw a magic clock in my bag that will wipe out the uncertainty of waiting.

I can't  have a pocket ready with the next plot twist I need, or the next book idea that will actually work.

I wish I could. Oh, how I wish I could. I'd save buckets of water if it would help--me or others--with being prepared for this industry.

Maybe I should just get over it and finish my glass.

*obscure reference to Signs, an odd Mel Gibson alien movie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yo

Wow. Okay, so THAT was a busy time.

There was the two weeks in Hawaii--and then we got back there was the workpileup + ChildFPSReport + ChildMacbethRehearsals/Performances + Husbandworktrip + ParentsGoneCoverage + Shows + PersonalStuff. And I discovered that in the two weeks I was gone, my boss had announced his retirement and 3 of our top people had all changed jobs...and yeah. My brain exploded everywhere, and it wasn't pretty.

But you don't want to hear about that stuff, because it's probably too close to what's going on with you, right? You want to hear Hawaii Highlights?

I...um...don't really have pictures. We were all relaxing and enjoying the moment too much to take pictures, believe it or not! But it was all about hanging out in the warmth and doing stuff in the ocean. We lived in bathing suits all the time. Child and I joked that we perpetually had sand in our EYEBROWS. We snorkeled about 7 times, in various places, and that is just amazing. We all are becoming snorkeling freaks! We saw the caldera of an active volcano, and a coffee farm in Kona, and lots and lots of lava and black sand and white sand and green sand and all colors of coral. But the highlight of this trip, really, was the animal life we saw and/or experienced.

Animals we encountered or witnessed:

--Humpback whales: they were migrating, and at any time you could see pods moving across the ocean from our hotel on the Big Island. Spouts and breaches!

--Dolphins: our hotel (the amazing Hilton Waikoloa) has trained dolphins ON the resort, in a lagoon that happened to be right under our balcony. So we'd go out at night or in the morning and watch the dolphins swimming, leaping, and playing. It was SO FREAKING COOL.

--Sea Turtles: Hubby and I had an extremely close encounter with a huge turtle in the ocean, when we were snorkeling a ways out from the beach. We were holding hands, and he pulled up short and *squealed*, I swear. I looked up, and there was a turtle right in front of my face that was almost as big as him! We swam behind it for a little while. In the hotel they also had 6 or 7 turtles that liked to hang out in the lagoon, and they didn't even take notice of people (or move to avoid them). Child accidentally smacked one in the face when she was swimming. ;)

--Seahorses: Child really really wanted to go to the seahorse farm she saw a brochure for, so of course we did. They raise seahorses as pets so they won't be taken from the wild. We all had a seahorse curl around our fingers.

--Tropical birds: Child had her picture taken with a parrot--it was meant to be on her hand, but it used its beak to climb right up on top of her head. Twice. There were some funny pics in there of her reacting...

--Eels: Man, these things are even creepier live in the ocean than they are in aquariums. They kind of make me shudder. But still, cool to see.

--Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of tropical fish, while snorkeling. Every kind you can imagine, pretty much. Child even saw a little octopus!

--Hawaiian monk seals: Okay, this one was in the Honolulu aquarium. Cheating. Still, Child had read a book about them, so she was thrilled.

--Chickens and roosters: are everywhere on Oahu, running wild. EVERYWHERE.

--Wild goats

--Marmots

The animals turned out to be the focus of the trip! Well, aside from the sun and the ocean.

Hope you're staying warm where you are! (It was 6 degrees F here this morning, but I am still basking in the memory of Hawaiian sun.)

Aloha!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Incarnate Theater Treasure Hunt

As I am a HUGE fan of Jodi Meadow's INCARNATE, I am so happy to be participating in the:


Welcome to the INCARNATE Theater Treasure Hunt!

This week, 48 bloggers are celebrating the release of INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows by participating in a treasure hunt with clues, activities, and lots of prizes including signed books (!) and handknit fingerless mitts (you want both of these). You've reached a CLUE blog, which means somewhere on this page is a clue to finding the hidden page and grand prize entry form on Jodi's website. Follow 26 clues to get there!

For more information on the INCARNATE Theater Treasure Hunt, check out Jodi's post. And look at my picture!!

Hee! I LOVE this one! Can you tell what's going on here? :)
And I am so excited to show you the trailer for Incarnate!



My clue for the password is: Second word: t

Now head on to the other bloggers participating in the Treasure Hunt:

Esther's Ever After
365 Days of Reading
Literary Exploration

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What kind of a post is this, anyway?

This is what I think about when considering my blog these days.

Oooh, I wish I could talk about secret stuff that happened!

No. Can't talk about that yet. Drat. Well, that's past anyway. I REALLY want to talk about secret stuff that's going on now.

*sigh* No. Oh, I know. I can talk about what I'm working on! It's super secret and all that.

*stares at blog*
*doesn't blog*

Yeah. Let's see. Erm...I'm going to Hawaii next week with my family! Yes, I can say that! And...um, we've got winter again here, so it's really cold...hence the Hawaii...

Man. I'm just going to show you pictures of fuzzy kittens.


 And this little guy.


And...I don't know how he got in here, but let's go with it.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Why I Love Twitter

There's a lot of mockery out there about Twitter. Talk show hosts have sarcastic bits about tweets, making us Twitter-users sound ridiculous. People who don't really understand it relate celebrity tweets with scorn (or, equally bad, with awe). My husband thinks it's a complete waste of time.

Okay, yes, it can absolutely suck up time and energy that you should probably devote to something else, if you let it get out of hand. But as a working writer, as long as I tweet with a sense of balance, it is SO not a waste.

Here's what I get from being an active, thoughtful participant on Twitter:

  • A crazy-wonderful sense of community. I have different groups for friends, YA writers, agents, and editors. I can post about writer struggles and talk to people who UNDERSTAND, real-time. While I love the people in my real life, they just don't get most of those struggles. Or joys, for that matter. On Twitter, you can post that you finished a rough draft and friends will celebrate with you!
  • A bonanza of information as a reader. Daily I see new books I want to read, or reviews of books, and find new (or seasoned) authors I want to support. Half that stuff I'd never know about without poring through a hundred blogs. I don't really have the kind of time you need for blogs. But with Twitter I can dip in and out, and find out what I need.
  • Connections. I am VERY anti-schmooze, and I would never (ever ever ever) connect with someone for what they can do for me. But my friends on Twitter have helped me tremendously in this whole publishing process, in ways I couldn't have even imagined. And usually without my asking. (Twitter peeps, you are amazing!)
  • Crowd-sourcing for information. Whether you need to know which show to go to in NYC or which office supply store has the best service, or you want to hear some new bands, you can Ask. And you will Receive Answers.
  •  Effecting change. Yes, we don't win them all. But when a strong Twitter community (like the YA lit crowd) sees something Wrong, sometimes we can do something about it.
  • FUN and DISTRACTION. Tiara days. Sparkle exchanges. Pun wars. Silly hashtags. It's like joking around with your favorite people whenever you want.
Wait. It kind of IS joking around with your favorite people whenever you want. And as long as you don't do it all day long, that can be pretty awesome.

So there, doubters. Did I convince anyone, or were you all convinced already? If you want to check it out, I'm at @susan_adrian. See you there. #TwitterRocks