generosity

My Weekend in A Bigger Pond

SusanMermaid

Greetings on a lovely Tuesday morning!  With all the rain behind us for the moment, I can calm down and think again about my fabulous weekend at WRWDC’s annual retreat, In the Company of Writers.

This is one of my favorite retreats. It’s small and relaxed, but still has the energy that comes from friends meeting for two full days to talk about writing and publishing, in every possible format.

What were my favorite parts of the retreat?

The food. Seriously. It just kept coming – although the Saturday night desserts caused a near stampede. One poor waiter saw his tray of cheesecake slices vanished before he could get them to the serving table. The seminars – My favorites: Bella Andre’s Ten Tips to Indie Success, Elaine English on Copyright (yes, it really was interesting) and the Keynote speeches. I know I’m leaving something out, but everyone put on such a great presentation, and I couldn’t be everywhere at once!…
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The Giving Season & Free Christmas Titles!

Happy Thursday, fishy friends!

Today there are two things I want to share with you and I just can’t decide which topic to blog about. After much deliberation, I’m taking the easy route and going with BOTH!

Firstly, it’s the Giving Season, and there’s this very special lady out there who is one of those people. You know, the kind who give and give and give but never want any attention brought to their generosity. And you try your very hardest to respect their wishes but eventually you just can’t take it any longer! This lady this past year for me has been the incomparable Dianna Love. I don’t even know where to start, to be honest. Do I tell you about her fabulous books? They’re out of this world, crazy good and I am salivating to crack open my copy of Demon Storm, Book 5 of the Belador series. So. Good.

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Getting My Butt Kicked

Susan-Mermaid-avatar As I’ve always said before, I generally avoid New Year’s resolutions.  This year, for a change, I made several:

–       I will join a critique group

–       I will allow myself to mentor someone, and ask for a mentor

–       I will submit material for publication

At the January meeting of CTRWA, I was right there with the club’s critique group.  We found much to say about each other’s work (both pro and con) and left feeling we’d encouraged each other in the best ways.  Resolution One:  check.

Also in January, responded to the semi-annual offer of matching Yodas and Grasshoppers.  Don’t laugh – our most accomplished writers are called Obi-Wans.  However, with the snag of a badly typed email address, I didn’t make the deadline for getting matched.  The coordinator felt badly for me and offered herself up, saying she didn’t feel she was Yoda status yet, but was willing to try.

Resolution Two: check.  Mentor achieved,…
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Writing Lessons: What a New Shirt Taught Me About the Muse

“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

Susan-Mermaid-avatar   I had a “fashion” moment last Saturday.

I’d been to the hair salon for a cut and color – an absolute must before a major holiday!  I’d driven with bestie Colleen to Danbury for shopping.  First, I said, let’s stop for a bite to eat.  Then, I promised, we would attack the mall and our Christmas lists.

But, as I crossed the parking lot, I realized:

The shirt I was wearing didn’t feel “good” on my body anymore, It was too short for the current styles, And it was faded.

We must detour, I insisted.  Just a quick stop at JCPenney, I promised.  Yes, I typically take several hours to decide on anything, but this will be different!  Zipped…
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A Time For Thanksgiving…

th-1It’s November… The days are getting colder, it gets darker earlier and Christmas is just around the corner.

What do you think of when you think of November? NaNoWriMo? The time change? Veteran’s Day? Thanksgiving? For me, November is a time for giving thanks. Here are a few of the things I am thankful for in my life:

I am thankful for my family. Without the support I receive from my husband and children it would be impossible for me to work a full time job, take care of the day-to-day stuff and still find time to write. I’m thankful that my family is healthy and that we have a roof over our heads and food on our table. And I am thankful for my job and my co-workers. Just like most of the rest of the world, I’d rather win the lottery and spend my days lounging on a sandy beach somewhere. Preferably with a hot cabana boy to bring me fabulous…
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From The Heart

Susan-Mermaid-avatarSeveral weeks ago I sort of volunteered to give a talk at our school’s annual faculty retreat. The day is filled with breakout sessions, much like the typical romance writing conference.  Usually, the experienced teachers are quick to propose their pilgrimages, their prayer retreats, their journey of faith through the study of art… anything that might help fill a day of Teacher Detention.  They’re the wise ones of the faculty:  they know how to fill time.  I’m not a popular teacher:  I sit in the peanut gallery.

So why, this time, did I put myself in the hot seat?  My work BFF, raised in the evangelical Christian tradition, summed it up:  “You have been Called. Do It.”  I thought for a second, told myself stop thinking, and shot off a possible topic to the organizer.

My proposal, on Finding God in the Midst of Suffering, was accepted immediately.  What? No argument?  No questioning?  No “gee, we appreciate your thought, but…”  Nope. …
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Learning to Keep Your Balance

Did you ever have a moment where a challenge you’ve known of for a long time seemed seemed to suddenly, magically resolve?Susan Mermaid

My lovely, talented, rapscallion son, Skitch, graduated from college two years ago.  He needed five years to complete his studies in engineering.  I was happy to give him that extra year – he chose a very affordable state school and I had (at the time) sufficient funds to help out.  We were thrilled when he was ready to fly the coop, get a job and spread his wings.

squidolin6But the graduation gift…  what to give this only son, who spread himself among so many interests and passions?  He suggested, and hubby liked the idea of, an electric violin.  But the best electric violins cost many thousands of dollars.  They need accessories, expensive ones.  We don’t know anything (much) (nothing) about electric…
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