Holiday Gift Guide for the Writers You Know

Writers tend to be like black sheep. Everyone knows a writer: in the family, a GiftBulbsfriend, a quirky coworker…we’re everywhere. With the holidays around the corner, here’s a simple guide of various gifts that writers would greatly appreciate, including a few items to avoid. 🙂

~Reviews! – Top of the list, are reviews on their novels on whatever medium you use. Amazon, GoodReads, B&N Nook. If you loved a novel, write a review and let others know! Can’t tell you how much this one is appreciated, more than any other ‘gift!’

~Printer paper – Reams of it. Because most writers go through them like water. Or wine. Or chocolate.

~Ink – See paper.

~Coffee, or Starbucks gift cards – Most writers could probably use this best in anCoffeeInject IV, but unless you’re a doctor and can write a prescription for the needles, best stick with the gift cards or beans.

~Pens – Something cool, unique, different.

~Coffee mugs – Just like pens. Be unique (and something that is dishwasher safe!)

~Books – Duh! Bonus points for knowing their favorite genre. But s safe bet would be a gift card to their favorite bookstore.

~Comfy Clothes – Bonus points for writing related shirts/sweaters, such as “I’m WriterShirtthe PsycHOTic Writer Everyone Warned You About,” or “Grammar Snob,” or “Don’t Piss Me Off, Or I’ll Kill You In My Novel.”

~Subscription to Writer’s Digest or Writer’s Journal – precious jewels in the mailbox, that many budget-conscious writers are forced to consider luxuries.

~Massage or Spa Day gift card – This forces us out of the house to relax our writing muscles.

Don’t Bother With These:

X Thesaurus – Every writer already has one, and every good writer knows not to use it.

X Digital Voice Recorder – Every phone has something already on it that works. My phone came with 3 different apps.

X Journals – Unless specifically requested, stay away from these! Every writer has a billion of these shoved somewhere in drawers. Plus, it’s a cliché. Writers are supposed to hate clichés.

Hopefully, this list gives you some ideas and starts you off in the right direction. Have a fantastic holiday! And Merry Christmas!

*This post originally appeared on Smart Girls Read Romance blog on 12/10/15.

Thanksgiving Sale- Celebrate with AUDREY’S PROMISE

It’s November. The time for colder weather, colorful turning leaves, college fall-autumn-colors-leaves-mexicanwavefootball, pumpkin spice lattes, and being thankful.

Thanksgiving is so rarely depicted in fiction novels. Most authors choose to represent Christmas or Valentine’s Day (especially in the romance genre). This overlooked holiday needed a chance to be brought front and center.

Click to purchase

So let’s celebrate! Since Thanksgiving is depicted in my debut novel, AUDREY’S PROMISE, it’s on SALE!!!!

I’ve included a bunch of links to the appropriate sales outlets you prefer. From now until Nov 8th, the e-book is only $0.99!

 

And when my next novel’s release date is announced, I’ll give away a free e-book or paperback of AUDREY’S PROMISE to a lucky commentator (winner’s choice)!

So get your seriously discounted copy of AUDREY’S PROMISE now before it goes back to full price. Raise your Pumpkin Spice Lattes in celebration of Thanksgiving!

 

Audrey Allen is poised to become the youngest Texas senator, a position that fits her nickname, The Peacemaker. But she’s unable to make peace with many in her hometown, where memories and grudges run deep from a decade-old tragedy.
Ethan Tanner, an ambitious and tantalizing journalist, joins her at Thanksgiving for an in-depth look at the promising candidate. But he has an agenda of his own that’s not entirely honorable.
Ethan could stir up trouble for her budding career, or awaken the deep passions she’s buried for so long. Will Ethan find that he values love more than getting the story?

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Audreys-Promise-Susan-Sheehey-ebook/dp/B00E4USBC6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415051372&sr=8-1&keywords=audrey%27s+promise
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/audreys-promise-susan-sheehey/1117344736?ean=2940149002252
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/audrey-s-promise
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-audrey039spromise-1336203-149.html

Taking Stock of 2013

champagneAnother round of New Year’s resolutions and goals. This normally includes taking stock of the previous year.

This past year, I had 1 primary goal: Go with the Flow. It was the first year I didn’t have a list of concrete, measurable and trackable goals.

Considering the circumstances, I think I did pretty well. It was a very challenging year (we knew it would be), with good days and bad days. But my personal goal was to go with the flow when the really trying moments came up.

And then a whole bunch of things happened:

*I sold my first novel, after years of rejection and shredded manuscripts.

*I became pregnant, after several years of no success.

*My 5-year-old would finally have a conversation with me about his day.

There were a million other little victories that happened this year too, mostly centered around my son. I learned more about the world of ASD, and met some truly talented and wonderful people. I learned even more about the madness of insurance, claims, appeals, and benefits depts. I learned how hard parents have to fight to get their children the services they really need, not just from insurance companies. From people who are ‘supposed’ to work in the best interests of the child.

More importantly, I learned how strong my son is. How strong my husband is. I already knew he was an incredible man (that’s why I married him!). But I have a much more thorough appreciation for his hard work, dedication and perseverance after going through something like this. Just proves to me more I really did pick the one man who broke the mold.

There’s one very big lesson I learned this year, on top of all the above. I learned how to ask for help. In certain situations, outright demand it and not take ‘no’ for an answer.

This feeds in really well to my writing. I finished another manuscript and am halfway through it’s sequel. I’m able to shrug off rejections easier, and at the same time identify the difference between criticisms that are nuggets of gold, versus lumps of coal.

2013 was a year full of lessons, and some incredibly wonderful surprises! Undoubtedly great successes. I think my plan of non-measurable goals worked out well. Thinking of going the same route for 2014. But I’ll save that for tomorrow.

My grand plans for a farewell to 2013 includes spending a quiet evening with my family, and probably falling asleep before the ball drops (I have a valid excuse: preggo!)

Happy New Year, everyone!new-year-2014

 

Merry Christmas! Straight No Chaser 12 Days of Christmas

Here’s some Christmas fun from Straight No Chaser, one of my favorite Acapella groups. Click on the link above to go to the YouTube video.

XMasLighthouse

Once again, no matter what religion you practice or if none at all, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and great New Year’s. I appreciate the message of peace in any religion, whether it be Christmas, Hannakuh, Kwanza, Buddi, or atheism. Stay true to your religion: there’s nothing wrong with sharing it.

Since I’m Christian, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

 

Time for Christmas Music!!!

It’s that time of year again, where I blast Christmas carols and Holiday music on my computer and radio!

My favorite carol of all time is “Still Still Still,” especially from Manheim ManheimSteamrollerSteamroller. I also really love the German verse. Pretty much anything Holiday related from Manheim Steamroller is worth buying the entire album.

The highest grossing (and sadly overplayed) song of the holidays is Mariah Carey’sAll I Want for Christmas is You.” But let’s face it. It’s a good song, upbeat, and really gets people happy and in the mood for Christmas shopping (whether from the coziness of your couch/online or battling the crowds at malls).

98DegreesChristmasAbout eight or nine years ago, I bought the Christmas Album from 98 degrees (back when they really were the best of all Boy Bands), and I’ll still listen to that thing on a loop in my car. Specifically, “If Every Day Could Be Christmas,” and “The Gift.”

Another awesome one is “Carol of the Bells.” And when put together with a light show like this, how can you possibly not be entertained?

A billion more songs come to mind, but I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite carol of the season? How early in the year do you start playing them?

Audrey’s Promise Official Release Date

No, this is not the official cover. I just love the photo.

No, this is not the official cover. I just love the photo.

I’m thrilled to announce the official release date of AUDREY’S PROMISE, my debut novel from The Wild Rose Press, is NOVEMBER 1st!

Perfect timing, considering that the book takes place over Thanksgiving.

And more good news, I received the preliminary cover art today and am really excited! Which means the final cover should be in my inbox soon! As soon as I have the final cover, I’ll share with the world.

So everyone mark your calendars: November 1st, a brand new novel from yours truly hits the e-shelves!

AUDREY’S PROMISE

Contemporary Romance set in rural East Texas

Audrey Allen is poised to become the youngest Texas Senator, a position she’s primed for with her nickname, “The Peacemaker.” But she’s unable to make peace with many in her hometown, where memories and grudges run deep from a decade-old tragedy. Ethan Tanner, ambitious and tantalizing journalist, joins her home for Thanksgiving for an in-depth look at the promising candidate. But he has an agenda of his own that’s not entirely honorable. Will he stir up more trouble for her budding career, or awaken the deep passions she’s buried for so long? Can Audrey hold on to the promise she’d made?

2012: Roller Coasters and a Sweet Tooth

2012 was another roller coaster year for us. Great highs, a few tumbles, several rollerviewwhirl spins and whip lashes, and in the end we’re still here (sorry, Mayan apocalyptic enthusiasts). And just like fresh off a roller coaster, I’m breathless, excited, nervous and full of anticipation for another round.

I’m certain next year will bring some struggles for us, and we’re ready for them. But at the same time, I’m grateful for every minute I have.

I learned a lot this past year. About myself, as a mother, a writer, a friend- what I’m made of, things I can take, and areas I’m not as strong as I thought I was. And, incredibly, areas in which I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for. I may kick, scream, cry, beat myself to a pulp, but in uncertain situations in which I have no qualifications or control, by God I can adapt.

I have an amazing family and forgiving friends who put up with me during those moments. Who build me up when I need it and have a drink with me when I celebrate.

I know now is when most people create goals for the next year, and in previous years that’s exactly what I did. But right now I look back on 2012 and shake my head in amazement.

I cry for the losses of loved ones (still), I rejoice in magnanimous moments of others, and I marvel at the capabilities of the human spirit. How resilient my son is and no matter how difficult something is or how sick he feels, he’s still such a happy kid who loves with his whole heart without reservations. And how much better a person I am because of him. Because of my family.

toastSo instead of a toast to 2013 and what is to come, I raise a glass to 2012. You threw a hefty test as us, and we’re still here. I’m still trudging forward with writing, with the plans our family made, and handling the curveballs you whizzed at us. With the sours, there were plenty of sweets. And I have one hell of a sweet tooth.

 

Gifts for Writers

Writers are like Black Sheep. Everyone knows a writer. In the family, a friend, a giftkooky coworker… we’re common. And in one way or another, we’re all loved. That means with the holidays screaming around the corner, everyone has a writer for whom they need to buy at least a small gift. Here are some gift suggestions for writers (including ones to avoid).

Paper – Reams and reams of it. Because we go through that much. Either for brainstorming, rough drafts, character sketching, revisions (*raises hand*) or querying. We use a lot of it.

Ink – See paper. (With one caveat: it is essential to know the kind of printer the writer has, of course).

Coffee – Most writers need this fully stocked in IV bags. But don’t get them needles- that requires a prescription.

Dragon Dictate Software – For writers on the go, moving around a lot, this dragonwill help. You’ll need to find out if they have a PC or Mac. Downside: it’s a bit pricey.

scrivenerSrivener A fantastic new software that most writers love, no matter what they write (fiction or non fiction).

Pens – Like paper and ink, we use these a lot, and therefore run out of ink in the middle of jotting down a great idea, and then chuck the pen across the room, chipping our favorite coffee mug while we desperately search for lipstick or marker to write down said-great-idea before we lose it.

Coffee Mugs – To Replace said-broken-mug from above.

 The Latest Edition of Writer’s Market – This may be baffling for those of you who are not in publishing, but this is the first step to a golden ticket in the Willy Wonka’s Factory of Publishing.

Elements of Style from Strunk & White  – See note above.

Books – Duh. Bonus points for knowing which genre they prefer, but they’ll pretty much take anything. Especially books on writing or autobiographies from serious writers. (FYI- Snooki’s recent book does not count).

Comfy Clothes – Any funny shirt or pants specific for writers. There are so writershirtmany websites offering screen-printed quotes on shirts like ‘Don’t Piss Me Off Or I’ll Kill You In My Novel’ or ‘Grammar Snob.’ We need something comfortable to write in and what better way to be motivated to write than to wear the reminder. CafePress has some great ones.

Slippers or Socks – See clothes. No writer can write with cold feet.

Computer Accessories – A laptop case, wireless mouse/keyboard, thumb drive. Again, helpful to know what kind of computer they have to make sure the case fits. But a thumb drive is universal. As are screen cleaners and cans of air to blast out the dust from our keyboards.

The Writer’s Block – Nuff said.writersblock

Lap Table – A bunch of different kinds, depending on whether they like classic wooden, or contemporary chic, or funky bumbo style. But a cup holder is essential.

Air Fresheners or Wickless Candles – For writers who spend hours sitting in one spot desperate to get the dialogue out of their brains, sometimes we tend to forget to shower. Something to mask the stench in the air is helpful (Scentsy is popular). But nothing that includes a flame where we’ll forget to blow it out and burn down our masterpieces.

Massage – To force us out of the house and relax our writing muscles. Spa gift cards are a great way to achieve this.

Magazine Subscription  – Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Journal, The Writer (any of these are precious jewels in the mailbox).

Don’t bother with these:

Journals – Every writer has a million of these shoved away in drawers and closets. Don’t add to their clutter. Plus, it’s a cliché. Lesson #1: all writers hate clichés.

Laptop – Come on! These are so freakin’ expensive, with way too many variables that are too personal to each individual writer. Unless you want to take them to the store to pick out their own, don’t do it. They’ll just end up exchanging it for something that suits their query personality more. It’s like women and shoes. We’re just too picky.

E-Readers – See laptop. Though gift cards to purchase e-books are good.

Thesaurus – Again, every write already has one. And every good writer knows not to use it.

Digital Voice Recorder – Every phone has something that meets this need. My iPhone came with 3 of them. And there’s about 30 more apps they can download for free.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas. Have a great holiday!

Merry ChristmaHannaKwanzikuh… or Happy Festivus

If your Christian, say Merry Christmas.

If your Jewish, say Happy Hanukkah.

If your African, say Happy Kwanzaa.

If you’re Buddhist, say Happy Budhi.

If you’re atheist, say Happy Holidays.

I will not be offended by hearing you say something nice to me during this holiday season. I believe in free speech for all, including sharing your religious greeting, since in the end, it’s all meant to wish peace for everyone.

I, myself, am Christian.  So I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas. And hope you feel nice enough to wish me peace as well – in whatever religion you practice or not.