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About a dog

June 20, 2018 | 7 Comments

“I can’t see well, but I can still gaze at the mountain and have Deep Thoughts.”

Lenny actually has more fans on the Internet than I do, so I thought I’d post the report here.

He was my gift to myself for surviving a miserable divorce from a miserable person. I was ready for joy in my life and Lenny was it!  The moment the ink was dry on the decree, my friend Deanna and I took Barkis to a rescue fair and found the Most Perfect Puppy Ever.

Lenny is an essential writing tool.

Lenny welcomed my new life, my yummy new husband, and scores of admirers. He became That Dog–the one everyone wants to hold and cuddle.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed Lenny running into things and acting confused. His pupils didn’t contract. The vet referred us to a specialist to see if he has a brain tumor, which is the worst thing ever. The specialist didn’t think it was a tumor at all–but Lenny has gone blind.

It might be due to something called Sudden Acquired Retinal Deterioration. It’s not fatal. It’s just a thing. Lenny’s taking it in stride, adapting better every day. And loving life as always.

Lenny won’t let this ruin the things he loves–treats, sniffing, napping, and cuddling. Like the painter Claude Monet, he’ll keep on going: “I see less and less.. .Nevertheless, I always paint at the times of day most propitious for me, as long as my paint tubes and brushes are not mixed up…I will paint almost blind, as Beethoven composed completely deaf.”

Shakespeare wrote, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.”

 

 

dress like your summer beach read :: and other nonsense

June 15, 2018 |

I don’t know about you, but I usually just use my beach book to screen my face from the sun while I read.

If you were to dress like your book, what would you be wearing?

Now this article suggests we use books as shopping guides for cute clothes. Like a 0 ruffled sundress inspired by the very excellent You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac, for instance.

If your summer  beach read is Between You & Me (and it should be; it’s by my favorite author and she did a really good job), your outfit might look like this:

Image result for doctor medical scrubs jacket

Fun fact–If your doc is wearing a short lab coat, she’s probably a medical student. The attendings are the ones in the longer coats.

Or this, for your man–who by the way should also read beach books:

Image result for farmer jeans

I know, right? He really doesn’t have time for the beach.

And for the Amish teenager in your life, especially if she’s got something to hide.

Image result for amish teenager

Or the little boy who steals your heart:

Image result for amish boy

[spoiler alert–his left arm…]

Okay, I’ll stop. But I would love to know–if you were to dress like the book you’re reading, what would your outfit look like?

 

Kate & Anthony

June 11, 2018 | 1 Comment

This picture struck me because I can relate to it on so many levels.

He’s writing. In longhand. On the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. It was posted so recently to his Twitter account.

He posted that just last week. He writes on the ferry. He writes in longhand.

I write on the ferry and in longhand. I probably look equally absorbed and serious when I write.

I’ve been on the Star Ferry crossing Kowloon Harbor in Hong Kong. It was on that ferry that I fell in love. I had just met Jerry and we were both working in the Far East (Jerry in China, me in Australia), and we followed a mad impulse to meet in HK and spend a week in the Peninsula Hotel. And while we were there, we took the Star Ferry over to Wanchou and got matching tattoos that spelled “YES” in Chinese. So that’s my Star Ferry story. I remember the light of evening. I remember the rush of finding the most unlikely, most exhilarating romantic love I’d ever experienced.

And this morning I saw this picture of Anthony and I wished that his demons, whatever they were, had left him alone to do his art and his life. I wished the love and joy and passion in his life had been powerful enough to protect him from those demons.

And this loss comes on the heels of another—the iconic Kate Spade. Another artist I admire every time I take out the crossbody phone wallet Jerry bought for me, or the blue bag that was a gift from my publisher.

Or the typewriter bag I once gave my editor as a gift.

Image result for kate spade typewriter bag

She was wonderfully creative, and deserved contentment along with the success she enjoyed.

She was so crisp and classy. And she had such a clean, clear vision of design.

He had such a big personality and an appetite for life.

There are no words of wisdom in this post. Only reflection and sadness. The world can never have too many artists in it. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, you are not alone. Lifeline @800273TALK can help. 1-800-273-8255.

I’ll close with another vanished genius who left us too soon—Chris Cornell.

 

That was Jerry’s walking-in song at our wedding.

I appreciated Anthony, Kate, and Chris in ways I didn’t realize until they were gone.

In life, as in art, anything is possible. Sometimes I hate that.

the “easier than you think” pie

June 05, 2018 |

People say something is “easy as pie” but I think they mean “easy as eating a piece of pie, right? Because most of us are pie-challenged.

But there’s good news–it doesn’t have to be that way. As Dr. Reese Powell, the main character of Between You & Me discovers, making a pie can be easy, and also a way to bring joy and comfort to someone you care about.

What’s better than a good book? A good book and a piece of pie!

As a doctor, Reese discovers that you can’t fix everything, but you can certainly make somebody a delicious pie, and sometimes, that’s what the moment calls for. In the book, she uses an old-fashioned pie fluter–but that’s just getting fancy. Your own two hands will do.

FRESH BERRY PIE

This one turns out right every time. You can use most berries in season—blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries–or a combination if you can’t decide.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups fresh berries, stemmed, washed, and drained
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup minute (“instant”) tapioca–needed for thickening
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 prepared double pie crust (Note: The ones that come pre-rolled in a box are wonderful and won’t break your heart.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado or other coarse sugar for sprinkling on the top

DIRECTIONS

  • PREHEAT oven to 400°F.
  • Place the bottom crust in a 9-inch pie pan, prick the bottom, and put it in the oven to partially bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Toss blueberries (and other berries if using) with sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, almond extract and cinnamon until evenly coated.
  • Let stand 15-30 minutes. Don’t forget to take the crust out of the oven.
  • Fill the pie pan with the berry mixture.
  • Dot top of pie with butter.
  • Cover top with second pie crust.
  • Seal and flute the edges. Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut slits in top crust; don’t be afraid to get creative with fanciful shapes.
  • Place a square of foil on bottom oven rack (to catch spills) and place the pie on the sheet. Using the bottom rack ensures the bottom crust will bake as nicely as the top.
  • BAKE 50 minutes to an hour, or until you see slowly-bursting bubbles coming through the vent holes.
  • Cool completely before slicing (this is the hard part), then serve with crème fraiche, whipped cream, ice cream, or wolf it down as is.

Note to readers :: Between You & Me will be published on June 26. You can order a signed copy here or here. It’s also available in hardcover, digital, or audio wherever books are sold. And as always, it’s available in any format, free of charge, at your local library.

Today only! MAP OF THE HEART for .99

May 27, 2018 |

Get an exclusive excerpt from Susan’s new book. View this email on the web. The Latest Update from Susan Wiggs Download Map of the Heart
for just .99 Today only, the ebook edition of Susan Wiggs’s beloved novel, Map of the Heart, is available for download for just .99! Even better — this ebook includes an exclusive excerpt from Susan’s new book, Between You and Me, on sale June 26th.

Map of the Heart is a deeply emotional and atmospheric story that spans oceans and decades, from the present-day Delaware shore to the battlefields of WWII France. Download your copy now.

On Instagram

The birthplace of olives, seen from 300 kph. #authorsofinstagram #writingonatrain #writinglife #theviewfromhere
@susan_wiggs_

Connect with Susan This message was brought to you by HarperCollins Publishers. royal wedding !!!

May 19, 2018 | 1 Comment

When you’re at sea, this is how it’s done.

Nobodys moving a muscle on deck right now. Drinking will commence anon.

#RoyalWedding #meganmarkle #princeharry #cruising

I left a keepsake under Hemingway’s pillow.

May 10, 2018 | 1 Comment

It was hot and bright that day and the red yarn bracelet wore thin on my wrist. In January I had gone to the broken temples of Siem Reap at sunrise. Amid the sunlight and shadows, a quiet Buddhist woman worked under a bamboo hat, plaiting strands of yarn and tying them onto the wrists of tourists and asking for a small donation. Bad luck to take the bracelet off. It will come off when ready.

the temple of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is a bucket list destination When the Buddhist lady ties it on, keep it until it falls off naturally.

Five months later it was threadbare and worn thin, ready to leave me.
It looked like a thread of blood on my pale flesh and I knew it was nearly done. The yarn came off on the ship and I put it in my sunglasses case and brought it with me to the white house with the gardens and cats.

cats don’t care

We threw down 14 clams apiece to go inside and we walked around the creaking floors with the inquisitive whispering strangers and we looked around at Ernest’s house.

Hemingway’s typewriter

Movie posters and typewriters surrounded the old, breathing rooms.
There were docents who knew things like how the house cost 8 grand back in the 1930s and how a penny became embedded in the patio.


His bedroom was light and spare with a green verandah and a white chenille spread. A tabby cat slept between the pillows, unperturbed by all the visitors filing through and taking pictures.

I left something under the pillow in the foreground. It was meant to be.

He liked his women. He liked his alcohol. He liked the urinal he stole from Sloppy Joe’s Bar and dragged home in the night and kept because he was mad about his wife spending 20 grand on the pool.

And he’s gonna like the present I left for him under his pillow.
That white chenille pillow with the sleeping cat.

And now the Buddhist’s broken strand of red yarn is there. I placed it where it is meant to be. The breeze blowing over everything.

And we said goodbye to Ernest and continued our journey.

We’re all feeling fine. There’s nothing wrong with us. We feel fine.

[My #HemingwayImitation. With apologies.] #Hemingway #KeyWest #BucketList #writerspilgrimage #CheapImitation #HillsLikeWhiteElephants

the person attached to the legs

April 30, 2018 | 1 Comment

Publishers are keen on author branding, because it helps readers identify the person with the prose. A certain look, font, layout, logo–all can associate the writer with feel-good fiction, spooky stuff, drama, darkness.

So I’m told one element of good branding is to have a professional, clear author photo like the ones on my Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter feeds. Alas, I didn’t do so well branding my Pinterest and Instagram feeds, so I’m updating those pictures. Now you’ll know who you’re looking at all across the Internet. Lucky you!

There’s a story behind the Instagram photo (below). Back when I was single (newly and blissfully divorced), my well-intentioned but meddlesome daughter put my info on a dating site. I was a bit freaked out so I didn’t let her put up any closeups of my face. We used this one instead.

shoes from heylady.com

Good for getting attention, not so good for branding. In time, Prince Charming came along, and the rest is history.

[Side note: When in doubt, buy the shoes.]

I’ve been known to say that my author photo is my greatest work of fiction. Writers by nature (well, this writer, anyway), tend to be ridiculously uncomfortable about getting their picture taken. All the fuss and attention. The holding-still while wondering if your smile really IS that dorky.  The worry about extra poundage and crows’ feet and oh-my-god that outfit.

But ultimately, you’re persuaded that the artifice has a point. It tells the reader what to expect when they open a book by Stephen King. Nora Roberts. Debbie Macomber. Sandra Brown. Danielle Steel. I bet when you see those names, you can picture the writer in your mind.

What I tell the stylist and photographer at a photo shoot is that I want to look like someone with an interesting story to tell.

So there you have it. The person attached to the legs.

PS: Let’s meet in person to read, eat, drink, knit, and sightsee! This July. Info here.

Meet me in Seattle, July 19-22

 

the perfect mother’s day gift = the perfect summer weekend

April 27, 2018 | 1 Comment

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

We are heading to Bainbridge Island and SeattleJuly 19-22, for an amazing weekend of knitting fun with author Susan Wiggs(see Q&A below!) Our Mother’s Day gift to you? Register before May 15th to save on pricing and get an autographed copy of Susan’s Map of the Heart!

FIND OUT MORE DETAILS>

KNITTING NATTER

The cost of that knit, from sheep to shawl. (Washingtonian)

Fashion is sitting up and taking craft more seriously. (Dezeen)

Nothing gets knitters talking like Daniel Day-Lewis in a hand-knit gansey. (Fringe Association)

This Minnesota MMA fighter has a soft side. (Fox 9)

SUSAN WIGGS TALKS KNITTING

Editor Trisha Malcolm chatted with best-selling author Susan Wiggs ahead of this summer’s knitting trip to Wiggs’ hometown of Bainbridge Island.

TM: When did you learn to knit?

SW: I have no memory of learning to knit, the same way I have no memory of learning to make up stories. I had that grandmother who just had the knitting magic. We all remember “that basket” from our childhoods, and I just remember delving into it, trying to emulate her gestures. And I can’t even recall when I really started knitting, but I remember looking down at a little stockinette square and saying, “Look what I did!”

TM: Is there knitting in your novels?

SW: You know, it’s so much a part of everyday life for me I barely even think about it, but yes, people knit in my novels. If the characters are sitting somewhere having a conversation in a certain setting, of course somebody’s going to be knitting! I can’t think of a book where it actually takes center stage, but it’s something that people do just to relax and create. My novels are about drama and deep conflict, and for me knitting is the opposite of that. It would be hard for me to write a dramatic, struggling scene where somebody’s knitting. Now I’m thinking that I should challenge myself to do a knitting scene in the aftermath of a big drama…or after a big love scene! Maybe instead of lighting up a cigarette, they should get out their knitting.

TM: Tell us a little bit about Churchmouse on Bainbridge Island.

SW: What a lovely shop, isn’t it? You know, when it started about fifteen years ago, I thought, really? Just a knitting shop? In a town as small as Bainbridge? But they’ve really turned it into a destination and I love it. I’m so proud of that shop, I love taking people there, seeing their faces when they walk through the door. It’s going to be so much fun this summer when we take people there and they get to take it all in.

TM: Any knitting wisdom?

SW: You know….no. I have the opposite. Knitting imparts the wisdom to you. It makes you be patient. It makes you trust, when you’re casting on stitches and thinking this is never going to be right. If you’re looking for more patience and trust in your life, try knitting.

I am so excited about this trip. It’s my favorite place, my favorite time of year. It will be perfect weather, in the 70s during the day, low 50s at night, water everywhere and blue skies as far as you can see. July is always a good bet in the northwest, and the itineraries for both Bainbridge and Seattle are perfect. Everything you need for a weekend is there. It’s pretty much everything I would say to do.

signed book scavenger hunt

April 19, 2018 |

How do those special “signed edition” books happen? It starts with the bindery shipping thousands of pages to the author for her signature. Then she binge-watches The Last Post (which I heartily recommend) while signing her name, over and over again.

You can pre-order a signed copy of Between You & Me from my local indie bookseller, Eagle Harbor Books, or from Barnes & Noble.

To add some fun to the project, I marked some of the pages with my feather logo stamp. If you order a signed book and you get one with the feather, you are in for a huge treat! It means you’ve won a gift basket of all my favorite things (think chocolate, coffee, candles, lotion, books, writing and art supplies…).

a few of my favorite things

Just send a pic of the autographed page to susanmwiggs (at) gmail.com and we will shower you with goodies!

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