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



The winner of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL is....

Rachael Allen!

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


(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


*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:


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


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


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.


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


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.