Monday, February 10, 2014

Love is in The Air

By Susan J. Berger

It's Valentines Day week and I'm going to post about love.

My first adult book came out January 29th. It's called Time and Forever. And the book got written because of Pen and Ink.

In 2009 I had put out a request up at Critique connections for new members for the critique group I was currently involved in . I got a lot of responses. Hilde emailed me and suggested we all meet up at her house and see who fit with whom.

Twelve of us met up Hilde's, snacked on food, including her wonderful cookies , schmoozed and read two pages aloud. When I heard Lupe and Hilde's pages, I absolutely knew I wanted to be in a critique group with them, even though I wrote mid grade and Picture Books. (No, Hilde. It wasn't because of the cookies. Really. I love your work. Of course if you felt like making some, none of us would ever say no. . . )

Kris Kahrs felt the same way as I did. She was at that time writing picture books. Kris and I joined a picture book critique group that formed at that meeting. Lupe joined another YA group with my former critique partner Teri Fox And the three of us joined Hilde's Tuesday night group. We were a perfect fit. We each had something special to offer each other. A critique group made in heaven.

Two months in, Kris suggested we start a blog so that we would have a platform once we were published. Lupe, grumped a bit, but went along. I think Kris did the original design of the blog and set it up.

My first post on the Pen and Ink Blog was about the joys of NaNoWriMo. To write the post, I signed up for NaNoWriMo without any intention of participating. On November 3, 2009, my Jewish/Catholic guilt genes surged to the forefront of my brain and forced me to sit down at the computer and begin typing. I had not a single idea in my head. In one month I had a book called Second Chances. The premise was two women in their sixties time travelling back to 1969. I wrote a story I wanted to read and it made me very happy. Of course that was a first draft and it needed work.

I didn't feel I could take the revision through Pen and Ink cause we were a children's book group. I did the first revision on my own. My sister, Kelly and another casual friend both read it and loved it. I was delighted and continued to revise.

In May 2010 I had open heart surgery. Pen and Ink's response. "Well, you may not be writing right now but you will be again and open heart surgery shouldn't stop you from critiquing." Oddly enough, Lupe, Kris, and Hilde all had experience with open heart surgery and they made me see that it wasn't a forever kind of thing. That within a year I would be back to normal and the whole thing would become a memory.


I think I was excused from the blog for three months, but I wasn't excused from meeting. We met bi weekly at my house. And I started writing again and revising.
I bid on a professional critique from one of my favorite authors, Kelley Armstrong and her trenchant advice and the advice of GAP editor Lynda Burch inspired another revision.

In 2012 I sent the book to submissions at Soul Mate Publishing. I got back a letter from Cheryl Yeko saying before we could talk contract I needed to make some changes.  
Contract?! At this point I went to Pen and Ink and asked if I could take my revisions through the group. And they said yes. Even Lupe. And his eyes did not bleed when he read the sex scenes. Kris, Hilde and Lupe all gave me fabulous edits.

I sent the revised book back to Cheryl in June, 2013 and they offered me a contract. There were lots more rounds of edits. Time and Forever came out January 29th. So far the reviews are good. If you would like to take a peek, the first 4 chapters are readable on Amazon.

So, Hilde, Lupe and Kris, you are my Valentines. Thank you all and I love you forever.

Our next big adventure together will be Lupe and Angel's wedding.

14 comments:

  1. Susan, this is a beautiful valentine to your group. Congratulations on having your adult book published. You are One Fortunate Lady!

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    1. I know I am Barbara. Thanks for commenting.
      Blessings!

      Delete
  2. What a lovely Valentine! You are blessed to have such wonderful companions on the journey. Best of luck with sales, Susan :)

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    1. Thank you, Joanne, I am hoping sales will take off.
      Blessings!

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  3. Hi Susan, I read the beginning and liked it! So I guess if Lupe's eyes didn't bleed when he read it, then mine probably won't either! So I'd love to review it for you. Just one other book ahead of you, and I'm halfway done with it.

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    1. Penny. I hope it's a good read for you.
      Blessings!

      Delete
  4. Congrats Sue You know you are one of my favorite people .
    I have stared reading your book . (a little at a time :) and no my eyes won't
    bleed :) Have a wonderful Valentines Day . Hugs KC:)

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    1. KC, You are one of my favorite people. Thank you for taking time to read it.
      xxxooo

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  5. Sue,

    You are so lucky to have such great writing friends. I am in the process of reading your book, can't wait to finish it. I love, love it! Look for a review from me next week!
    www.nicoleweaverbooks.com

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    1. Woo Hoo!!!!! Can't wait to read it. So glad you are enjoying the book.
      Blessings!

      Delete
  6. Aww shucks Sue, I thought it was because of my cookies, but glad my writing beat my cookies. That's high praise. I know that it's been a love affair from the start and I remember telling Lupe, one day, he would be happy and find someone that would adore him like we did. And sure enough, his "Angel" came into his life and swept him off of his feet all the way up North. Our group has survived several transformations. Kris is on Sabbatical, Sue is working on promoting her book, Lupe's writing faster than we can critique and I am trying to find a way out from revision despair. But regardless of what we are doing or where we are emotionally, we are still kicking, through this blog, where we keep posting and it keeps us alive and in the writing conversation. And that's a good thing. Here's to a wonderful trio of partners and to many, many, more revisions!!!

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  7. Lovely post, Sue, and your book is terrific! Urbane, witty, and full of charm, this is a book everyone should read. All the best of luck with it.

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    1. Thank you so much,Nancy. You are one of the chief readsons the book improved.
      Blessings!

      Delete
  8. "Even Lupe. And his eyes did not bleed when he read the sex scenes."
    I visited an ophthalmologist to check for PRBB.
    Sincerely,
    Post Romance Book Bleed

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