Friday, May 25, 2007

The Unexpected

I am a bit of a control freak. (gasp!) I'm sure that's a huge surprise to you all.

Not about everything. In fact, it's pretty limited, but the things I hold tight I hold REALLY tight.

But interestingly, most of the really exciting things, good and bad, that happen to be are complete surprises.

All the things I worry about almost never happen. (There's a part of me that's convinced I'm warding them off by worrying so much.) The big whacks of life have always come at me blind.

But the good stuff works that way, too. And a really good surprise is something you all can go find on your newstand right now.

My next book (June 5, JUST SEX) is in Redbook. It was a complete fluke. I had nothing to do with it; my editor had nothing to do with it. The publicist at Berkley just send a bunch of bound galleys out to all her media contacts. Somebody who got it at Redbook just happened to know that they were looking for a book for their RED HOT SUMMER READ program, and they liked it and bought it.

Small excerpts are being printed in each issue this summer. It's up on their website, and I'll be doing website columns for them through June.

It's weird to have your book excerpted and condensed. I got to read and (technically) approve it in advance, and it was very strange. Vaguely familiar - there's a line I wrote! - but a lot of it doesn't sound like anything I'd ever write. But still, it's got my name on it, and a lot of people who were never impressed that I wrote books ARE impressed that something I wrote is in Redbook. I guess there's too much variety in book publishing, and most people don't know what's a major publisher or not. But Redbook - they've all heard of Redbook.

What's the best, completely unexpected surprise you ever had?



Debra Dixon said...

Susie-- How fabulous for you! I guess I zoned out when the news of your Redbook triumph was trumpeted. So, good on you! :)

As for me, I guess the best unexpected surprise I ever had was when my sister called to say, "Sit down. Our grandfather is alive."

She'd been doing geneology research because our father was adopted by his stepfather when he was just a toddler. We never knew his father's side of the family. It was a big family secret. (g) Anyway, our preliminary research indicated that my grandfather had gone back to the East Tennessee mountains and was dead.

He would have been in the eighties at the time my sister got close enough to finding him. We didn't actually expect him to be alive. But she wanted to go visit the cemetery. It was important to her. She got there. Saw his tombstone. And then called his "other" family. The one he had after my grandmother and he divorced.

The other family was a little freaked out. And desperate for this not to be true--that he had another family. Finally, it became clear that their father couldn't have been our grandfather because our grandfather was missing a finger from a coal mining accident. Their father had all his digits.

So, my sister gets out the phone book and begins calling every Bryd Daugherty in the area. It's kind of a specific name you'd think, but not so much in that area! There were several to call.

Turns out my grandfather had been looking for his son all his life. He'd never had any other children.

So that was pretty surprising. Made for some great reunions.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Well, Susie, I had an unexpected surprise at Borders the other day. I was paying for my purchases, saw a stack of bookmarks for JUST SEX, picked one up and the handsome young clerk (whom I'd barely glanced at from whatever other world I was in at the time) said, "She's a local author." I said, "Yes, I know her well." He said, "She's my mother."
I zoned back in. Handsome youg clerk was your all-grown-up baby!
He's talking you up, lady! I mentioned Redbook, and he had a copy in my hand pronto. I see what you mean by heavy editing, but I remember LaVyrle saying the same thing the first time one of her books was excerpted. She also credits it as one of the MAJOR breaks in her career.
Congratulations, my friend. Luck? Sure. But combine luck with your talent and you've got the stars aligning with a star. Sail on, silver girl!

Christie Ridgway said...

Susie: I didn't know you're on their site as well. Silly woman, put up a linky to it!

Surprise...hmm...I think when my husband proposed. We'd just played softball and I was taking a shower to get the grime off me and he came into my bathroom and climbed into the shower fully clothed to propose!

I've never asked him what prompted him to choose that moment, but I was definitely surprised.

Helen Brenna said...

I love all these surprises! Amazing, Deb - goes to show truth is stranger than fiction. What a story!

And Kathy, I keep waiting for that to happen to me, too. What store is he at, Susie?

Christie, that's a great proposal story. You probably tell that one a lot!

My big surprise was finding out I was pregnant with my son. I'd had 2 miscarriages, went through surgery and other infertility treatments and out of the blue, bam! Pregnant! And what a treat he's been. Can't imagine if I hadn't had those miscarriages how he probably wouldn't be around.

Lisa Plumley said...

Congratulations! That's wonderful. You're bound to pick up lots of lovely new readers too.

Lisa :)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Christie, I love your proposal story! I can just see it--which is okay, because your guy is totally clothed.

I have a shower surprise story, too. Years ago, I'm in the shower, and Clyde comes in on silent Indian feet, pulls open the curtain and there's a buffalo skull staring at me through empty eye sockets. Not a nice clean white one like you'd find in a shop in New Mexico, either. This tatanka had (has--he's still around here somewhere) bits of hide and hair. And teeth. And he's big.


Betina Krahn said...

Susie! How wonderful for you! You've certainly had some of the lows in the last couple of years, but now you're hitting the highs as well! Terrific!

I'll rush out and get a Redbook pronto!

And as for surprises, I guess the first pregnancy was one. . . we'd tried and then had to quit trying because of moving and me going back to work. I was starting to worry about infertility-- and BAM-- baby #1.

But my writing career has been full of surprises-- from meeting someone I never expected to meet, to making a list I never expected to make. . . you just never know what forces are at work in the universe.

And as my sister says: when it seems nothing is happening and you're beating your head against a wall, remember: God works on both ends of the situation. Maybe you're on hold while opportunities /conditions/people are gathering elsewhere for you.

Susan Kay Law said...

Wow, those are some great surprises. Especially babies. Come to think of it, #1 was a surprise for us as well. Everybody always thinks it was the last one (ten years after his brothers) but he was actually on purpose. Just took me that long to talk my husband into it.

Except Kathy, I don't like that surprise. Eww. When I was in high school, I was at a friend's house, and went to the fridge to get a pop, and all that was in the fridge was a great big calf's head, staring at me. That was a shock, too. (They were making head cheese.)

Nate told me he met you right away! He likes the bookstore, I have to say. And they all take a certain pleasure in the fact that, when someone needs help in the romance section, they send over a young male. He sells all of us quite enthusiastically.


Susan Kay Law said...

OH, and here's the redbook link. don't know how to put it in the side.

The first column is in, but not up yet. This is just the first excerpt.