Susan Jeffery

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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Packing for Nationals – NOW? Why not?

 

Susan-Mermaid-avatarI know, I know – the RWA National Conference is in July. So, why am I getting all het up about packing already?

Because the finalists for the Golden Heart and RITA awards are being announced on March 26th. And I am pretty sure there are some writers who, after jumping up and down, screaming, crying, calling everyone they know

and some they don’t, will suddenly have that dull, ugly lump of dread blooming in their innards: WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO WEAR?

Back in the day (1986, to be specific) this finalist/winner wore a chic white cocktail dress she found in a bridal shop, and some very nifty gold-and-black jewelry. The dress is long gone – thank goodness shoulder pads went out of style – but the necklace still lives in my jewelry box, a beloved and respected treasure….
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Mermaids Present: The Way to Your Sweetie’s Heart…A Valentine’s Day Menu!

Yellow love

Greetings, fishy friends! With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, a few of the mermaids and I have dug deep into our treasure chests to put together one sweet menu for you and your special someones out there. Lots of stuff went into these culinary masterpieces, but the key ingredient was of course, Love. So enjoy and hey, if the food doesn’t wiggle its way into your lover’s heart, then give these delicious words a try…

“You are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life.” ~Julia Childs

Susan-Mermaid-avatarMY FUNNY VALENTINE, a drink to liven your spirits by Susan Mermaid:

Rim a glass in sugar, fill with ice, add:

1 oz. Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

1/2 oz. Drambuie

1/4 oz. Triple Sec

Slice lemon, squeezed and dropped into glass

Top with seltzer to taste!

 

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Clutter Blocks My Brain – Or Does It?

 

Susan-Mermaid-avatarNo, this is not a blog about clutter (sort of). I’ve been reading a lot about clutter this month, however – when I’m not reading yummy romance novels, that is (Jamie Beck’s Worth the Wait  – so good!). It *is* the first of the year, though – and resolutions are made (and broken) every New Year. Mine is all about getting my house under control.

I’ve been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and it is a fascinating read. And the best part of using her tips, is the number of bags that have already left the house. I can almost see myself gliding through a perfectly organized home. *brief pause* Okay, done with that mirage. But…

I remember a moment, years ago, at the beginning of my writing career, when my friend said to…
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Conference Magic: MerSisters, New Friends, and life altering moments

SusanMermaidI will confess: I live via nega-talk too often. The devil on my shoulder whispers, “Why do you even bother going to the gym? You never get anywhere, and then you cop out. Save yourself the trouble: stay home.”  She says, “Why do you keep banging your head against writing? You start and stop, change your mind, and doubts are your best friend.  Nobody will miss you…” And “Why in God’s name are you going to a conference? You spend so much money and you spend too much time being I didn’t know that last Friday and Saturday were days to change a life:  getting up early, driving with The Man down the New Jersey Turnpike and over to Iselin for the NJRWA Put Your Heart in a Book conference

put-your-heart-in-a-book Nor did I realize Sister Mermaid Denny S. Bryce, fresh off her Golden Heart win, would stroll into…
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Is it Christmas yet?

SusanMermaidFriends, I have a confession to make today.  And a story to tell.

Confession: After a summer of industrious writing almost every single day, my writing urge came to a screeching halt.  Sometime in August, I believe. Definitely about a month ago.  Maybe more. I didn’t panic, because I was sure the root cause would be discovered eventually, and we’d get our little writing choo-choo back on track.  And, with the school year started, I’m not exactly eager to strain my back getting pages out. I have Freshmen to train, and Seniors to tame, and a library to run – that is the priority now, until next May. If the writing waits, it waits. I’ll live.

At least, after the CTRWA Cherry Adair workshop last weekend, I do know more about why my story is stalled. Gang, it’s not pretty. Ms. Adair diagnosed my story as “thin”. She had ideas, and my chapter mates backed me up with suggestions for an…
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Golden Heart and Rita nominees, oh my!

SusanMermaidFriends, this is the LAST DAY in 2014 when RWA members will be in the dark. Yes, tomorrow is The Day for the announcement of Golden Heart and Rita finalists!

Hi, Rita! <3

Since you all know I’m incredibly helpful in dealing with anxiety (first lie), I offer these ideas (gleaned from the incredible brains of the young men I teach).

– play video games – watch movies – go to the gym – play sports – listen to music – lock yourself in a dark room and avoid talking (really!) – get your guitar and rock out – there is no such thing as anxiety in my world (yes, he really said that)

This, as opposed to the usual stress ideas I see on other blog posts, which usually I include references to cookies, ice cream and alcohol consumption.

Also, I have two family members…
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Why We Write Romance

Valentines-day-valentines-day-22236757-2560-1600-300x187Happy Valentine’s Day from the Waterworld Mermaids!!!

We love Valentine’s Day so much that we are celebrating all week long. Ever curious about why the Mermaids write romance novels? Today we decided to share our answers to the question: What made you start writing romance?

Come back tomorrow when we turn the tables on industry professionals with their very own question. Our celebration will wrap on Thursday with a gift card giveaway. Leave a comment today and tomorrow for extra chances to be entered in the giveaway on Thursday.

Enjoy and smoochies!

What made you start writing romance?

Alethea

This should come as no surprise to anyone: Fairy Tales are the reason I started writing romance. Fairy tales are full of fantasy, adventure, magic, mystery, blood, and death…but the tales I always found most interesting were the ones that involved true love. This love might end tragically (The Little Mermaid) or wonderfully (Rapunzel) or coincidentally (Briar Rose) or with a heaping…
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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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