As you may already know, I have spent the last year and a half working on 100 pages to send my editor for her consideration. Remember, she said all that was necessary were 2 chapters and an outline, but I said, “Oh no, I don’t do outlines – I don’t know where the story is going yet.”

OK, true.  But now I’m there.  I have my 100 pages.  And I finally know where this story is going — more or less.  I FedEx’d those hundred pages to my agent for her review a couple of weeks ago. Some agents make editorial comments. do not.  Mine does. She is a very sharp reader, born and bred in NYC, so she is not shy about saying what’s on her mind.  Again, must have a thick skin.

She sends her comments back.  I make changes.  I send the manuscript back.  She sends it back to me.  Again, must have thick skin.

And that brings us to today.  Got up at 5 a.m. and worked.  Fixed daughter breakfast and raced her to school and worked.  Went to meet reader and reviewed notes from agent, swam a mile at the Y, came home and worked.  Read more and more reports about the horror and tragedy in Haiti.  Continued to work.

Must get these pages right and back to my agent by Monday.  Self-imposed deadline.  More time in the chair – a recurring theme.  So I have fallen into the deep, dark writing hole and you may not hear much — although you will hear something (as I refuse to break New Year’s resolution) from me until I get these pages polished and in the mail.

But I cannot sign off tonight without asking you to please consider a donation to Doctors without Borders! We are one family, after all.  Good night!

Posted January 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm · 3 comments · Leave a Comment


That’s right.  Yikes.  Day 12 and I almost went to bed without posting a blog. My new year’s resolution had nearly evaporated as quickly as I made it.

So what to write about??  I thought about just posting another cute pic (thanks little snowpeople) but decided that would be cheating.

Then I wondered if anybody would even notice if I skipped one day.  Probably not.

But here I am writing.  Why??

I think it has something to do with discipline.  Nothing more.

Remember?  I talked about this earlier in the week.  And that is why it is almost nine o-clock, and I’m at my desk writing when I’d really rather be under the covers with a good book.  I really do think there is something to writing this post everyday.  I still haven’t figured out what it is, but hopefully at the end of the year, I’ll know it.

Goodnight all!

Posted January 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm · 2 comments · Leave a Comment


Leisa A. Hammett, author, From Heartache to Hope

Leisa A. Hammett, author, From Heartache to Hope

The adage is old, a picture says a thousand words.  But it has never been more true than in FROM HEARTACHE TO HOPE: Middle Tennessee Families Living with Autism, a stunning book of black-and-white photographs featuring 18 families living with an autistic child.

The families are racially and socioeconomically diverse but many of their challenges, their dreams and their hopes are strikingly similar.   Rebekah Pope’s stunning black-and-white photos are accompanied by the beautifully-written text by author Leisa A. Hammett.

Hammett, the mother of an autistic daughter and a dear friend of mine, will be discussing her new book at Nashville’s Davis-Kidd tomorrow night at 7 pm. Please join me as we celebrate this book and the families whose stories inspire us!

Posted January 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm · comment · Leave a Comment


Day 10 in my New Year’s resolution to blog every day, and I’m wondering if this is worthy of a celebration, a gift of some kind. What do you get someone who has successfully blogged for 10 whole days — paper, diamond, mousepad??

For me, writing novels is about routine, sitting down everyday and putting words on paper  – or at least sitting down and looking like you’re putting words on paper.  People ask me all the time about the process of writing.  The answer is simple, TIME IN THE CHAIR.

When I asked all of you about your routines, I found out that some of you take a walk in the park to focus your thoughts, others are motivated by a paycheck (that also works for me).  But every successful writer ends up spending time in the chair.

So then why has it been so hard for me to blog?  Well, quite truthfully, I always felt it was a distraction, something else that was taking me away from my art.  But what I am beginning to realize is that it is stimulating my creativity — it’s almost like journal writing, except between you and me, I never did that either.

Hold the gifts for now.  But if I successfully blog 365 days in 2010, I’m registering at Tiffany’s.

Posted January 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm · 2 comments · Leave a Comment



These two little snowmen, or should I say snowpeople, were sitting on a table outside a Chattanooga coffee house. They made me smile.  Nothing more.  And I thought they might do the same for you.

Posted January 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm · 2 comments · Leave a Comment


A friend just emailed part of an article from today’s Writer’s Almanac.  Apparently JAN. 8 is a sacred day for Chilean-born writer Isabel Allende.

In 1981, she got word on this day that her grandfather was dying.  She sat down to write him a letter and it evolved into her first book, The House of Spirits.  Every year since, on January 8, she lights candles, surrounds herself with fresh flowers, burns incense, meditates and starts a new book.

Wow, this really makes a mockery of my triple-shot venti latte and bowl of oatmeal.  And though you’ll never catch me taking the time to light a candle (hell, even find a box of matches), I can say that I appreciate the ritual. I am a firm believer that rituals center us, help us focus and do open our minds to the creative and divine.

But this has left me wondering what others’ rituals are like — whether you are writer, painter or accountant.  So this is the official invitation for you to share yours.  Doesn’t have to be long, just jot something down.

Posted January 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm · 3 comments · Leave a Comment


Bama fan and Page and Palette publicist Emily Bell.

Bama fan and Page and Palette publicist Emily Bell.

The SIBA Social Networking Summit just ended and after another bad night’s sleep I’ll be hitting the road, heading back to Chattanooga to watch the National Championship with my hubby.

Went to graduate school at the University of Texas, Austin, married a Texas but I grew up pulling for Bama.  So in honor of my dad, ROLL TIDE!

(Check out Page and Palette, a great Alabama bookstore!)

Posted January 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm · 1 comment · Leave a Comment


Attending SIBA’s social media summit in South Carolina.  Only been here a few hours and already has been well worth the 400+ miles driven through the snow last night on small, winding NC mountain roads.  Stayed up till 1:30am chatting with fellow writers Darnell Arnoult and Pam Duncan – very funny storytellers.  McLatte this morning hit the spot.

Now here in Greenville already chatting with some of the best Southern independent booksellers — my good friends like Jef at Bound to Be Read in Atlanta, Kelly at Fountain Books in Richmond and Jamie at the newly opened FlyLeaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC.

Just listened to the incredibly successful and delightfully colorful Gary Vaynerchuk (built his family’s local wine business into a multi-million-dollar national leader in the industry and then leveraged social media to promote his video blog Wine TV).  He talked about social media in a way that made sense to me.  Most important, you have to be out there on Twitter and Facebook BUT not just talking, ah, listening!

According to Gary, you should spend no more than 30 minutes writing your content, i.e., blog entries, tweets, Facebook comments, etc. and then the rest of your time getting people to see it/use it.  With 60 million people a day signing up for Facebook, I think he’s on to something.

For me, still trying to strike that perfect balance though between my writing and the business of writing.  And when I spend too much time in the social media world, I begin to miss the people dancing around in my head!

More tomorrow — but I see dinner with great booksellers tonight!

Gary sporting his Jets' goodluck beard.

Gary sporting his Jets' goodluck beard.

Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:15 am · 3 comments · Leave a Comment


The last of my pound cakes are in the oven — and I can now say that I am officially sick of butter.  Hopefully all my little cakes will properly cool before I need to hit the road.  As I mentioned yesterday, I’m heading to South Carolina for a social media conference sponsored by wonderful SIBA.  So through the woods and over the mountains I go.  More tomorrow.

The last of the pound cakes!

The last of the pound cakes!

Posted January 5, 2010 at 11:00 am · 3 comments · Leave a Comment


Okay, progress made!  Today I finished reviewing the copyedited manuscript of The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove. Made all necessary changes and Fed Ex’d it back to my editor.  It was nice spending a little time with Bezellia though, hadn’t seen much of the girl since a year ago last September.

(Oh and for the record, after much fact checking, I know without a doubt that Loretta Lynn’s eyes are blue as I had originally thought — not revealing how I know that but trust me they are blue.)

Still baking and packaging pound cakes but shipped 19 out today so well on my way.

Tomorrow I head out for South Carolina and the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Association Southern Social Networking Summit.  Should be great, traveling down there with fellow writer, Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace, one of my favorite Southern books and stopping along the way to visit with Pam Duncan, author of The Big Beautiful, another fav.

Needless to say, much more baking and packing before I hit the sack so goodnight for now!

Posted January 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm · 2 comments · Leave a Comment

Susan Gregg Gilmore