There is only one way to describe the feeling of leaving Minnesota behind for a week-long spring break in Florida:


If you factor in the snowstorm I had to drive through on the way to the airport, you’d understand.

Anyway we are here in Anna Maria Island now, working away on the next-to-last draft of “Forever Amber,”  my current mystery novel.  It’s not hard to stay indoors and write today- it’s only 55 degrees outside and cloudy. But who cares?  It warms up tomorrow, and anyway it beats snowstorms any day.



Top Ten Articles You’ll Never Read In Writers’ Magazines

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6.  Get The Paparazzi To Work For You!

5.  Why J.K. Rowling Wishes She Were You

4.  Social Media:  More Than Just A Time-Sucker

3.  Platform?  Schmatform!

2.  Writers’ Conferences:  Why Hiding In Your Room Is Your Best Strategy

1.  From Spelling Bee Champ To Best-Selling Author:  Yes, That’s How It Works!



Back to Winter

I’ve been back home in Minnesota for a week now.  News flash:  it’s still winter here.

Winter, and with Lent coming up next week.  I have to wonder if Lent is any easier if you live in Hawaii.  If I had to guess I’d say Minnesota offers more unavoidable opportunities to offer up stuff.  For example, “I will not swear under my breath when I open the door to today’s Arctic blast-in-the-face.”  You don’t get that kind of opportunity in Hawaii.  Or “I will not check the calendar to see how long it is until the first tomatoes are ripe.”  Kind of pointless in Hawaii.  Because the answer is usually “about ten minutes.”

There are probably things you can offer up in Hawaii that are harder to do there.  Like “I will not watch the lovely tropical sunset tonight.”  Try saying that in Minnesota.  (“What sun?”)

I know a few things I’ll do this Lent. For example, I plan to renew my “Magnificat” subscription.  And I will make an extra effort not to lose my “Magnificat” when it arrives six weeks early  (why do they do that? Why does the April issue arrive in the mail in February?  Don’t they understand the risk that entails?).

What about you, reader?  Any Lenten plans yet?

Word Count

Yesterday I hit ( and even surpassed) my word count goal for my “writer’s retreat” in Hawai’i.  Hurrah!  Yay!

To reward myself I bought a cute little bracelet I’d had my eye on since I arrived here two weeks ago. Noting extravagant, a little silver thing with a charm of the Big Island.  But I love it.

Bought the bracelet.  Shop owner fastened it on my wrist.  Drove home happy.

Decided to further reward myself with a shower.

Which was when I discovered I couldn’t get the bracelet off.  I tried until my thumbs were bruised.  Then my sister-in-law tried until her thumbs were bruised.  No luck.

So today, my last day in Hawai’i, I will be spending the morning driving back to the shop in Waimea to see if the bracelet’s creator can get it off for me.

There’s a moral in that story somewhere.

The Luckiest Woman in Minnesota

That would be me.


I have an in-law who has a house in Hawaii.

Which is where I am writing this from.  I have  been here for a week and have to go home in two days. But I’ve had a very productive time here.

It’s amazing how much easier it is to write when you are sitting on a lanai with the blue Pacific stretching out in front of you.  Well, okay, it isn’t always easier. But it certainly is pleasant.

If any Hawaiians are reading this:  I love your state!  Thanks for having me!


“Breakfast” At Dinner

So last night I’m having dinner with some friends.  In-laws of in-laws, to be precise.  People I see maybe once every two years.

“So, Susan.  What have you been up to lately?”

Writers like me squirm at this question.  I mean, I know what I’ve been up to: I’ve been writing.  But try telling that to a non-writer.  You usually don’t get a lot of comprehension.

Luckily I had news.  “Well,”  I said, “‘Breakfast with the Pope” just won a huge award.”  I told them about the Writers’ Digest Self-Published Competition.  “”Breakfast with the Pope’ won first prize,”  I said.

“Really!”  “Congratulations!”  “That’s fantastic!”

And it is.  The award will be announced in the March 2015 issue of Writers’ Digest, and I couldn’t be happier.

And it’s available on Amazon and Kindle.

So- whatcha gonna read today?