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Running With Quills! 

Running With Quills was a co-blog where Susan posted regularly with sister Quillers Jayne Anne Krentz, Stella Cameron, Ann Maxwell, Suzanne Simmons and Lori Foster. The blog closed in December of 2010. Below are Susan's posts, archived from Running With Quills. Connect and chat with Susan on Facebook!

posted online at Running With Quills December 5, 2010

The Quills Sign Off and Move On

We know, we didn't give you any warning. The truth is, we, ourselves, didn't realize that we were going to shut down Running With Quills until a few days before it happened. It was one of those sudden, intuitive group decisions and once it had been made we knew we wanted to do it fast, make it clean and move on.

RWQ has been a wonderful adventure for all of us. You -- the fabulous readers who dropped in to visit and chat -- are the reason this blog worked so well for so long. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your warmth and friendship. But as we all know, if there's one thing that's certain about the online world, it is that the only constant is change. Here you'll read some farewell sentiments from each of us and find links to our other online homes.

We wish you all the best of the holiday season and the New Year. And we hope you will visit us elsewhere in Cyberland.

Sincerely,

Jayne, Stella, Elizabeth, Kate, Lori, Carla and Susan

Note from Susan:

It's been such a fun run with the Quillsters. I was leery of blogging when Elizabeth Lowell invited me to join RWQ and at first declined the offer. Then I thought, Are you crazy, girl? Pass up the opportunity to hang out with Elizabeth and Jayne and Stella and Lori and (at that time) Suzanne? So I gave it a pop and discovered a whole new world of online friends.

I've loved getting to know those of you who posted. And I hope you'll join me on Facebook or stop by and browse through my webpage.

Thank you one and all—you've made the past few years incredibly pleasurable!

~Susan

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posted online at Running With Quills November 23, 2010

sueHappy Thanksgiving!

If your family's like ours, I imagine during the holidays a lot of your younger couples do the trade-off thing with their respective families. For years the soul mate and I alternated Thanksgivings between my parents and his. I don't remember exactly when that changed, but it was probably when his mom and dad went into assisted living and began celebrating more of T-day with my husband's sister on Vashon Island. Around that same time my oldest brother and his wife assumed the hosting duties for my side.

Sister Sue

So a new tradition of going to Ken and Sue's for Thanksgiving to celebrate with both my side of the family and Sue's was born. Then her father's Alzheimer's got to the point where being away from his home on Whidbey Island for too long made him anxious and her niece started hosting the rest of her family up on Whidbey, where they live. By the time Walt died, they had established a new tradition.

halloween

After the transition, Thanksgiving dinners went from around 30-40 people down to as few as 8, depending on where our now grown kids celebrate.

But some things remain the same.

Wrong holiday, but right season, year, and guests!

I always bring the pumpkin pie. We always eat too much. And K & S's house always rings with laughter and the sound of little kids running wild and guys arguing with umpire calls during the Turkey Day football game.

 

Have a great holiday, everyone! What is your Thanksgiving tradition?

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posted online at Running With Quills November 9, 2010

Susan Welcomes Sheila Roberts sheila

Hey, all. My friend and sister Pacific North-Westerner is joining us today with the deets on her new Christmas book and some exciting news on last Christmas' book, which I getta dish! On Strike For Christmas, which many of you probably read after she blogged about it last year, has been made into a lifetime movie! It will be on the (duh) Lifetime channel December 5th! Isn't that just the coolest?

But equally cool is her now book, The Snowglobe. So please join me in giving Sheila a big Quills welcome so she can tell us all about it. Take it away, Sheila!

LET IT SNOW GLOBE!

Don’t you love snow globes? I sure do. I think what I love the most about them is the perfect scene under the globe. It always stays perfect, no matter how much you shake things up, no matter how wild a blizzard you create. When the snow settles, everything is perfect once more. Just like real life, right? Hahahahahaha.

Ever had moments when you wished you could crawl inside a snow globe and stay in that nice, perfect world? I sure have, especially around the holidays when things are starting to get crazy.

snowEver have a perfect moment you wished you could capture? You know, those awesome times when the children are sleeping and looking so angelic, when the snow is softly falling outside and you’re warm inside with a nice fire going and a good book (or a good man!), the one time everyone liked what you made for dinner. I can think of several times in my life that I would love to have captured in a snow globe: listening to my big brother read the Christmas story at my family’s annual Christmas Eve gathering, the celebration the day we brought our daughter home, my baby son racing around his crib and smiling in anticipation as I entered the room to get him up from his nap, the day my husband and I made our wedding vows, the time I lost enough weight to fit into my dream dress (boy, there was a fleeting moment!).

In The Snow Globe my characters find a snow globe in an antique shop that shows whoever possesses it just what she needs to see to give her hope and help her fix her life. Oh, wouldn’t we all love a snow globe like that? I sometimes wonder if I had a snow globe that showed me the future what I would want to see. Me, skinnier, with no wrinkles. On Dancing with the Stars. Hmmm. If I saw that would I be in a wheelchair? Probably, since I’m sure if I went down for the splits I’d never come up again. I must admit I’m happy with my life right now and grateful for all the good things in it and the friends and family that make me feel so blessed. Still what the heck, put me in there with Jonathan or Derek, wearing lots of sequins and make me twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter. And forget the snow. Give me glitter!

What about you? What would you see? Whatever you’re longing for, whatever the future holds, as we charge into the holiday season, I wish for all of you this year a season of hope and joy.

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posted online at Running With Quills October 26, 2010autumn

Susan Gives you Autumn Leaves and oddsie endsies

This is going to be short and sweet. I had one of those drop-everything-to-do-writing/promo afternoons and tonight is Girl’s Night, which means a late evening.

So let’s talk Autumn.

I love this time of year. There’s a clarity to the air that’s never quite duplicated during any other season. We went to our cabin in eastern Washington last weekend, where we got a first class helping of that cool, clear air.

It's been quite a while since I’ve been there and it was soooooo relaxing. The weather was better than Steve Pool (Channel 4 weatherman) predicted, which is always a welcome bonus. Plus, I slept like a baby, read a lot and got to mountainbrowse through fun boutiques with my BFF Mimi, while the guys kicked back and didn’t shop (which filled us all with gratitude). It was a much needed break.

It's an El Nino year on the West Coast, however, which means Washington state is braced for colder and wetter than usual weather. Sunday morning we saw evidence of it on the mountain peaks across the road. The soul mate and I have spent the past ten plus Thanksgiving weekends (Friday through Sunday--not the actual holiday) at our cabin, and historically that's when we see the first dusting of snow on those peaks and often on the trees lining the two passes as we drive home, as well. This year we saw the dusting on October 24th.

I wanted to show you the actual snow, but either my camera or iPhoto messed up the download for the 4 pics that showed it well and I erased the originals before I figured that out. Sigh.

journalWe started renting the cabin out earlier this summer on a week-end and weekly basis, and this was the first time I've been there since we've had renters in it. We have a guest book that many of them wrote in, and it was fun to read their comments. My very favorite was written by a girl named Elaina. To preface what she wrote to the left here: above the French doors going out onto the deck we have a framed poster of two Adirondack chairs overlooking the--you guessed it--Adirondacks . We also have an capital A on the wall perpendicular to that.

Her assumption tickled the heck out of me and Mimi, who now calls me Susie Adirondack.

Well, happy Halloween, everyone. Anyone attending a Halloween Party this weekend? And inquiring minds wanna know:What's your fave season (and why)--and what's the best Halloween costume you've ever seen or worn? Apologies to those of you who already participated in this question on my Facebook page...but I got such cool replies I thought it was worth expanding the information base.

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posted online at Running With Quills October 12, 2010

Hey, Hey, I Wanna Be a Rockstar bes

'Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We'll all stay skinny 'cause we just won't eat
And we'll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger's Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair


Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

Rockstar,
by Nickelback

Of all the talents in the world, I always thought having a killer voice would be the coolest. It’s certainly gotta be the most portable, hands-free skill in the world. You can sing absolutely anywhere, no supplies needed. Okay, sure, a mic might be nice if the acoustics suck and you gotta reach the back of the house. Me, I only need to reach the back of the shower.

I have occasional daydreams of being a blues singer. Now, this is ironic on so many levels, I’m not even sure where to start. Well, okay, my voice might be a good place. Hey, it’s not awful. It’s just very, very limited. If a song comes on that's in my range (which is teeny-tiny) why, I sound downright decent. It's pretty heinous, however, when I try for those octaves out of my range, which is, oh, most of them. But even if I could sing like Gina Sicilla or Janiva Magness there janwould still be that pesky little problem of getting up in front of an audience and putting myself on display. Not so fond of that. I can do it if I have to, but I’d just as soon not.

But in my imagination, none of the above is an issue. No, ma’am, in my imagination I totally rock the house, bring tears of joy to your eyes, raise the freakin' audience to its feet, whistling and screaming for more.

Which is probably why my talents lean more in the direction that they do: I have a good imagination. And the fact that it’s unfettered by reality—well, hey, that’s pretty much what daydreaming is, yes? It pleases me to have aspirations that I know I will never in a million years realize, to try on personalities, if only in my mind, that are worlds removed from my own.

Are you going to hear me any time soon, making Jan James weep with envy as I sing My Man in a smoky little nightclub?

Uh, no. But in my mind? Oh, mama. There, I'm bringing down the house.

So, how 'bout you? What daydreams please you?

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posted online at Running With Quills September 28, 2010

Susan turns in her Mensa card

Hey, all. Have you ever done something that left you feeling less than brilliant? That was me setting up a simple one dayflag cruise to Vancouver B.C. All right, less than brilliant might be gilding the lily. It was more like a ride on the Dimwit Express.

For a few years now I've received emails with Friend and Family deals from a relative who works for a major cruise line. In all honesty, the idea of cruises has never flipped my buzzer. But, hey, what do I know? Until this past weekend I’d never been on one, so I thought it might be fun to dip my toes into the pool, so to speak, with a short jaunt. When a one day cruise from Vancouver to Seattle came available I signed us up, then went online to reserve tickets on Amtrak to get me and the soul mate up to B.C. to catch the ship. I love trains and I’ve taken the Cascade to Canada before. Part of it runs along the coast, which makes for a lovely ride. With a minimum of fuss we were set.

One downside of the Friends and Family contract is that the cruise line can bump you if they get a full price offer for your room. They’re in biz to make a profit, so that makes sense. Good thing I'm such a reasonable woman (snicker, snort), because that's what happened to our reservation. Truly, though, it was no biggie. They offered to either refund our money or set us up for the following week with an upgrade to a veranda room. Without airline tickets involved, it was merely a change of date. The first reservation had been for Wednesday the 22nd and I glanced at the date, looked at my calendar and assumed they were switching it to the following Wednesday. I called Amtrak, canceled my first set of tickets and set up new ones. steve

You can see where this is going, right? That makes an ass of U and Me thing? Because the next day I get the confirmation from the cruise line and it’s not for Wednesday the 29th—it’s for Sunday the 26th. Arggh. Once again I called Amtrak and changed our travel arrangements. But what the hey—screw ups happen. And this time we really were set.

My honey.

On Friday night, I went online to see if the Skytrain would get us from Vancouver’s Pacific Central station to Canada Place, where the ships dock. I'd seen directions to the pier on my paperwork, so I pulled it up to locate them. Then as long as I had everything out, I checked it over one last time. And ho-ly sh--um, that is to say--cow! The cruise wasn't leaving from Vancouver, it was embarking from freaking SEATTLE.

I could not believe I'd screwed up again. Had I even checked to see if the sailing itinerary had changed from the original one along with the date? Oh, no. And just to add to the fun, on the basis of me telling him we'd debark the boat somewhere between 7 & 9 am Monday morning, my husband had made Monday night airline reservations for another job up in the Aleutians. Unfortunately the morning train from Vancouver left before we got off the boat, while the evening one would get us in too late. But there was a bus we could take that would get us in about an hour and a half before he had to leave for the airport. Not exactly the ambiance I'd been looking forward to, but workable.

So I called Amtrak again. I’m sure they thought I was an idiot. Hell, I thought I was an idiot. But it could have been worse. Can't you just see me taking the train up there and then whipping out my paperwork to prove to the cruise people that the boat was supposed to be heading to Seattle with me aboard? It would have been a tad mortifying when they said, "Uh, ma'am? This says you leave from Seattle."

This is our stateroom, which was bigger than I expected. Very comfortable.

The good news is it all worked out and we had a great time. I don't think cruising will become my preferred mode of travel, but I'd definitely do it again. Heck, maybe I'll even spring for two days next time.
One thing's for sure. You can bet I'll pay more attention to the details.

So, back to my original question. Have you ever done anything that's left you feeling less than brilliant?

Snoopy Susie wants to know.

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