Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Susan McBride Guest Blogs!

Finding Mr. Right-for-Me

I see it as a tabloid headline: St. Louis Magazine “Top Single” Gets Engaged! It seems so amazing to think that, before I was picked by St. Louis Magazine to be one of their top 20 singles in 2005, I was, well, very, very single. And I had been for a long time. I was 40 years old and had spent most of my adult life working my tush off, trying to get published. I wanted to be a successful novelist more than anything, and so I ignored my social life. Even after I had two books out with a small press and then signed with HarperCollins to write a mystery series about a Dallas debutante, I focused on my books and not my heart. I hadn’t realized how much effort it took to travel and do promotion. I got so busy that I almost didn’t notice that a part of my life was missing.

Though my mother noticed. Big-time.

I know she worried about me, wondering if she’d ever get to plan my wedding or if I’d turn into one of those nutty cat ladies, writing books in my bathrobe and cleaning litter boxes in my spare time.

She submitted my name to the St. Louis Magazine folks when they were looking for their crop of 2005 “top singles”…and, lo and behold, I was selected! I remember meeting such nice folks at the photo shoot for the November issue of the magazine, including a software applications engineer named Jeremy Nolle (who ended up on the cover of the magazine).
Turns out Jeremy worked with a guy named Ed Spitznagel at Exegy, and Jeremy encouraged Ed to attend the very first “top singles” party held at the Contemporary Art Museum on November 3. I happened to be chatting with Jeremy when Ed showed up. We were introduced, tried to converse over the music, and he gave me his card. Which I promptly lost. But Ed was no dummy. He emailed me through the magazine, and he asked me out…to my first-ever hockey game. He showed up, too, at the bachelor/bachelorette auction that I participated in the next week to raise money for charity. Ed ended up “buying” me on the auction block, something he likes to tell people even now (“yeah, I bought Susan at an auction”).

Somehow, a hockey game snowballed into more hockey games and dinner and movies and just spending as much time together as we could. By Valentine’s Day of 2006, I knew I was in love, and he was, too (thank goodness!). By June of 2006, we were looking at houses and closed on one in late July.

He proposed to me on Christmas Eve. Got down on bended knee and said, “Susan McBride, will you marry me?” It was the stuff of dreams, and it all happened because of my mother writing a letter to St. Louis Magazine, saying, “Please, help my daughter find a good man”…and the magazine putting me on its pages. Ed’s about the best man out there, by the way, sticking by me like glue as I’ve gone through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. What a lucky girl I am.

We’re planning the wedding for February 2008. I think my mother’s saving the front pew for the whole staff at St. Louis Magazine to thank them for saving me from a life as a crazy cat lady.

P.S. A little bit of trivia regarding NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB, which I was writing while Ed and I were first dating. The haiku that Andy Kendricks, my deb dropout, finds in her boyfriend's journal was actually written by Ed and sent to me as a joke. It was too funny not to use somewhere! Also, I was nearly two months late with the manuscript because I was so besotted and couldn't concentrate. I wonder how often an author tells her editor, "I need more time 'cuz I'm in loooove"? Oh, boy.

P.S.S. Anyone have any suggestions on staying sane while planning a wedding!

You can visit Susan at


lois greiman said...


A HUGE welcome to the convertible! So glad to have you riding with us. And what a great story for us romantic fools. Ed's a lucky guy.

Also, I love your Deb books and can't wait to pick up the new one. Tell us a little about it.

Helen Brenna said...

Susan, thanks for hitching a ride. It's great to have you here! And what an inspiring story. Ed sounds like a keeper! Your mother must be thrilled.

I don't think there is such a thing as staying sane during wedding plans. Although I'm betting these days wedding planners make things easier. Are you an only daughter?

Susan McBride said...

Oh, man, I just wrote a long comment, and Blogger ate it. Oy. I'll try again. Lois and Helen, thanks so much for letting me ride in the convertible today. It's amazingly spacious. As for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB, it starts out with Brian Malone, the boyfriend of Andy Kendricks (the debutante dropout), going to a gentlemen's club for a bachelor party...and disappearing. Someone tells Andy he left through a back door with a stripper. Andy doesn't want to believe he'd run off with a woman named "Trayla Trash" and suspects something bad has happened. She's bound and determined to find out where Brian is, even if it means snooping where no girlfriend has snooped before. The theme of the novel is basically: how well do we know--or trust--anyone? Even those closest to us. About the wedding...I'm not an only daughter, just the first daughter to marry. My older sister dates twenty-somethings who aren't exactly commitment-ready! So my mom is very psyched about being in on my wedding plans, and things are going well so far! But it's still early yet, right?

Helen Brenna said...

Trayla Trash. LOL!!

I wish I could writer a funny book!

Susan McBride said...

You just need to tap into your crazy side, Helen! Or channel Erma Bombeck. I'll bet that could work, too. Am I right, Lois? (Who is probably feeling pretty crazed right about now with her deadline today! My thoughts are with you, grasshopper!)

lois greiman said...

Grasshopper is with you in spirit.

Hey, I just killed off an abusive, chauvenistic, anal-retentive husband. (fictional....all fictional) The book is almost done.

Can't waaaaaiiiiit to read yours, Susan

Debra Dixon said...

Susan-- Welcome! Loved your story of meeting Ed. Love the cover of your book too. That's great.

Susan McBride said...

Lois, was that cathartic in any way?

Hi, Debra! It's so great to be here. Y'all obviously have a lot of fun on this blog. I'm glad you liked my "how we met" story. It's kinda kooky, but it worked! Thanks re. the cover of LIVING DEB. I really like it, too, probably the best of all my books (although BLUE BLOOD is a close second).

Christie Ridgway said...

Hey, Susan! I love your singles story and the book sounds delish. Ed is definitely a keeper and I hate to admit this...but I was really busy traveling for my job when I was planning my wedding and I let my mom do most of it. She and I have very similar tastes, though she did put her foot down when I came home with this beautiful white linen ankle-length "suit" (as she put it) to wear as a wedding dress. I must have been too much in business-mode, I guess.

So I now say, go romantic and enjoy every minute!

Michele said...

Welcome, Susan! I love the title of the book. At first I thought it was about vampires (but that's only because I"m writing vampires right now), but it sounds like it'll be a hoot.

I cheer for your wedding and the planning that comes with it. Such fun poring over Bride magazines and picking colors and flowers and stationary and...well, I've just been initiated into the planning of a wedding as well. More on that for tomorrow's blog. :-)


Cindy Gerard said...

Welcome Susan!
I LOVE your love story. It's the stuff that, well ... romance novels are made of :o) And as to surviving the wedding planning - it's been a loonnnggg time since I've been there but I do remember making a conscious effort to stop, breathe, and make myself savor little moments so I wouldn't forget them in the chaos. It will all be worth it.
Can't wait to read Living Deb - what a clever title!
Hope you're enjoying the ride.

Susan McBride said...

Hi, Christie, Michele and Cindy! Thanks for having me here (y'all are such a nice group!). The wedding planning is going well so far, I must report. I've got the chapel and reception site booked, and I found the perfect string quartet to play at the ceremony. I know what floral designer I'd like to use...and, well, that's about it. I've definitely been looking at Brides magazine and even checking out wedding gowns online. I'm leaning toward something in taupe or cream (I'm too pale to wear white and, must confess, I hate white shoes). And I figure I'll forgo the very large marshmallow dresses (or any of the Disney-inspired gowns--have you read about those?). I'm too old for poofy, but I love some of the really elegant, sleek styles I'm seeing. My mom and I have similar tastes, too, so I would trust her if I had to turn some of the planning over (like, just before deadline insanity hits). Anyway, I'm looking forward to having it all done and enjoying the party! Do any of you have favorite wedding memories? Either something really funny that sticks out or just a sweet moment? I'd love to hear!

Susan McBride said...

Wait, wait, I forgot something...Michele, you're planning a wedding, too? Congratulations! I'll have to check back here tomorrow and read all about it.

Cindy Gerard said...

I have many wonderful wedding memories and one not so wonderful but memorable just the same. My father was taking his seat after walking me down the aisle. He tripped over my train and did a header into the front pew. It was a definite Kodak moment, let me assure you :o) Good thing he was spry and quick - a bleeding father of the bride would have put a bit of a damper on things, don't you think??

Susan McBride said...

Ohmigosh, Cindy! I'm glad your dad was okay so you can look back on things with a sense of humor. I'm with you--a bleeding father of the bride is never a good thing (well, maybe in a murder mystery, but never in real-life!).

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- I too have many memories of the "wedding day." Not the least of which is right before we're ready to walk down the aisle. Mother got angry at Daddy about the heretofore unrealized gun accessory.

Daddy was career law enforcement. His jaw dropped open a little as he looked at her face and he said, "But it's my dress gun, honey!" Nickel plated. Pearl handled 45mm.

Susan McBride said...

Debra, that's hilarious! (Can I steal it for a book???)

Helen Brenna said...

Deb, that is hilarious. Are you sure that gun didn't have another purpose? Dare I say a reluctant groom? LOL

Something's bound to go wrong, Susan. I think it's best just have to accept that.

I went to the church with my sister and best friend to get ready there. We were pulling stuff out of the back of the car, their dresses, their makeup bags, my crinoline, my veil, and I'm thinking, "OMG, did they put my dress on the bottom of all this?"

Get to the bottom ... no dress. I'd left it at home. Our wedding video starts with my dh coming to the church carrying my dress. Kinda cute.

Susan McBride said...

Helen, I will take your sage advice and anticipate something wacky I won't freak out when it does. Like leaving my wedding dress at home and Ed having to bring it to the church...oh, wait, you already did that. I'll have to think up something else! Ha ha. ;-)

Again, thank you, wonderful ladies of Riding with the top down, for having me as a guest blogger. I had a blast today!

Anonymous said...

Susan, Congrats!--- On the Book and the Engagement. What a great "How we Met" story. I have a friend who always asks new friends to tell their "How we Met" at her dinner parties. It is a great ice breaker, and you learn so much, so quickly, about the couple.

As for weddings... it can become difficult if someone (mother, sister, aunt...) tries to hijack your day and make it into the wedding they wished they had had. This is yours and Ed's special day, try and keep that in mind.

A final note......, no one will remember the finger food, but the pictures last a lifetime, so spend the money on the photographer/videographer and cheat on the other things. You won't be sorry.

Good luck.