Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In Which My Blog Moves to My Brand New Website!

I'm so excited! The brilliant folks at Bemis Promotions brought my new website live last Friday, and the blog has been moved. Its new address is: http://www.susanmboyerbooks.com

I hope you'll come see me there! I'll leave this blog up for a while...

Peace out,


Thursday, May 31, 2012

And Then Things Started Happening

I came back from Sleuthfest in Orlando on Sunday, March 4. A lot of normal stuff happened during March, but the quantity was daunting--life, y'all know what I mean.

Then, late in March I got an offer from Henery Press to publish LOWCOUNTRY BOIL, the first in my mystery series about a private investigator named Liz Talbot. At the time I had an agent, who still had submissions outstanding. My instincts were screaming bloody murder to go with Henery Press. I have had so many conflicting feelings about which direction I should travel on the publishing road--there are many forks these days--but suddenly I was no longer conflicted. I knew what I wanted.

On Thursday, March 22, I signed the contract with Henery Press. Happy Dancing ensued. LOWCOUNTRY BOIL will be released in trade paperback and all e-Book formats on September 18, 2012.

Then, on Monday, March 26, I got a call at 9:09 a.m. EDT from Romance Writers of America® (I would tell you who called, but I was so excited I haven't a clue) to let me know that LOWCOUNTRY BOIL is a 2012 Golden Heart® Finalist. More Happy Dancing ensued, but now I was pinching myself while I danced. For weeks I kept thinking they'd call me back and tell me there had been a mistake. So far, so good on that.

And the, on Friday, April 27, I got a call from Cathy Perkins to let me know that LOWCOUNTRY BOIL is a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, Mainstream Category (unpublished division). I remember her name for two reasons: I know she's the Mainstream coordinator, and she left me a voicemail as I didn't hear my cell phone ring. Naturally, there was more dancing and pinching.

Somewhere along the way, I decided I needed a better website than the pitiful thing I had done myself. So, the talented folks at Bemis Promotions are working on a new site, which will be up sometime in June. When it goes live, this blog will be moved to a tab on the website, so that I'm integrated. I hope y'all will come visit me on the new site. I've started packing up to move, so blog links and so forth have been disconnected, but I will reconnect with everyone as soon as I'm moved.

I'm ecstatic with all the recent developments. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me as I've chased this dream. I feel like I've finally reached the starting line. I know the real work starts now. I have a lot more books in me. My imaginary friends are shouting at me right now because I'm blogging and not playing with them.

Peace out,



Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Some of the Nicest People are Planning a Murder

Some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet are planning a murder--or three. Seriously, it's a puzzlement, when you think about it. Mystery writers--folks who spend their days plotting inventive ways to kill people and hide the bodies--are, as a group, so pleasant.

I'm just back from Sleuthfest in Orlando. This annual event is a writers' conference sponsored by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I saw old friends and met many online friends in person. Everyone I came in contact with was open, friendly, and helpful.

A few standouts (for me) among many workshops offered Thursday were Daniel Palmer's "Coming up with Your 'What If?'" Reed Farrel Coleman's "Building 3-Dimensional Characters," and Hank Phillippi Ryan's "Get Your Motor Going." In addition to presenting helpful content, these folks were all genuinely entertaining. I'm positive all the workshops were just as wonderful, but my efforts to clone myself have been largely unsuccessful, and thus I could only attend one in each time slot--I had to choose. I hate to choose. I'm horrible at making decisions. I digress.

One of the (many) highlights of the conference for me came Friday morning. I arrived early for the panel discussion, "The Traditional Mystery," (one of my favorite panels) and chose a seat near the front center. I like to make sure I don't miss anything. Anyway, I'd been there a few moments, flipping through my program, when I looked up to see Charlaine Harris walking towards me with a friend. For the record, Charlaine Harris is one of my very favorite authors--I know, me and millions of other folks, right?

I'd set my purse on the seat to my left. Charlaine sat in the next seat over. We smiled and said, "Good morning." I tried so hard to act normal and not at all like a lunatic fan. I was mostly succeeding and was so proud of myself that I felt the need to share this information. I turned to her and said, "I'm trying really hard not to act like a total fangirl."

She smiled real sweet and said, "I was just admiring your sweater."

"Coldwater Creek," I said.

And then we had a lovely conversation about how we both loved shopping online in general, and Coldwater Creek in particular, and how if she'd seen that sweater she'd have bought it. Something about Charlaine put me instantly at ease. You know how some famous people travel with an entourage and give off this vibe that screams, "Back off, I'm far too important to be bothered by the little people?" These people are the polar opposites of Charlaine Harris. (None of those folks were at Sleuthfest, of course.) She introduced me to Paula, her friend and assistant, who was equally charming. Truly, I have never met more delightful people.

Charlaine's keynote on Saturday was fabulous as well--humorous, and inspiring. My only disappointment was that I already own all of her books, and had forgotten to bring one to have it autographed.

But you see, she makes my point. This warm, friendly woman has come up with enough creative ways to kill people, not to mention vampires, shape shifters, fairies, and all manner of supernatural creatures, to fill a shelf in my bookcase.

I think maybe writing about murder must be therapeutic. Getting all of your frustrations out by killing off the people who get on your last nerve, even if it's just on the page, must release a happy hormone or some such thing. That's my theory, anyway.

Peace out,


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Striptease

A friend of mine and I were solving the problems of the world via protracted phone chat/bon bon eating marathon last week when the conversation turned to her work in progress. Her local critique group felt that she needed to front load more backstory. I cringed.

I hadn't read her current project, but I'm not a fan of this strategy. When I'm reading a mystery or romantic suspense novel--and that's the genre pool she and I read and write in--I want to experience the story through the close point of view of the main character. And I want the protagonist to reveal the story bit by bit, as she lives it--dances it--like a striptease.

If a striptease artist walked on stage fully naked, (or nekkid, as we say in the South, when one is unclothed and up to something) it would be something other than a striptease. Some may get their jollies this way--in states where this is legal--but not me.

I love the mystery, the suspense--the tease. I want to see the dancer all dolled-up in layers of clothes and accessories--fur, jewelry, hat, scarves, belt, gloves, high heels, skirt, jacket, blouse--you get the idea. Then, piece by piece, each article--each clue--is peeled away, revealing the next. The striptease is a long, sensual dance, an art form unto itself. Reveal too much too soon, and you ruin the dance for me. I don't want to see the garter belt until the very end.

Y'all know we're talking books here, right?

Peace out,


P.S. Mamma, I swear I've never seen a strip tease dance in my life. You well know I was raised better than that.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Okay, Let's Try This Again...

Well, well, January, here you are back already. I know what you're thinking--that I haven't kept a single one of last year's resolutions, and you're right. But I think I've just been going about this resolution thing all wrong.

This year, I'm going to stick to resolutions I can, well, stick to. For example, instead of declaring my intention to exercise every day--which even I know is a joke--I'm resolving to exercise more than I did last year. (Trust me, this is an easy one. Even I can do this.)

Also, instead of adopting some exotic new diet from another region where people eat all they want of certain foods and stay thin, or one based on counting or measuring ANYTHING, I'm simply going to vow to eat healthier than I did in 2011--again, easy.

And I'm going to put first things first. Every day, before I check email, sign on to Facebook, tweet, blog, or any engage in any other form of electronic interaction, I will write. This is easy, because it's what I really want to do.

For some reason, I've gotten into the habit of checking in with all things Internet before my day begins. This is a huge mistake, because once I'm online, it's almost impossible to get off. I click a link on a Tweet to check out a blog, which leads to reading a few other blog entries on the same site, then clicking a link to something else that looks interesting...and four hours later it's lunchtime and I haven't written anything except a status update and a tweet or two. The only thing that comes before words on the page is family.

That's it, January. That's all I've got. So next year, you can forget all about being smug. I can do this.

Peace, out...


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chicken à la Twitter

I can't recall ever blogging a recipe before, but, by special request from a Twitter friend, here is the Crock-Pot®chicken recipe I threw together week before last. I tweeted the ingredients as I was creating, but it took me a few tweets, and searching a Twitter stream is a hard way to find a recipe.

Chicken à la Twitter (aka Santé Fe Chicken--that's what I was going to call it until Alyse asked for the recipe.)

3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used hormone & anti-biotic free)
1 envelope taco seasoning (I used Old El Paso brand)
2 cups uncooked rice (I used Uncle Ben's original converted--orange box)
1 jar salsa (I can't recall how many ounces, but you know, a regular-sized jar--I used chipotle flavor)
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (I think that was a 14 oz. can--you know, regular-sized)
1 can whole kernel corn (I used yellow)
1 can black beans (I used Bush's)
1/2 cup chopped olives (I used green because I like them better and had them in the pantry)
32 oz. chicken broth or stock
2 containers Philadelphia brand Philly Cooking Creme (Santa Fe flavor)

1.    Put the chicken breasts in a large Crock-Pot® (5 - 6 quarts)
2.      Sprinkle the chicken with the taco seasoning, turning to coat both sides

3.      Sprinkle rice over chicken

4.      Pour salsa over top

5.      Pour tomatoes on (don't drain)

6.      Pile on the corn (drained)

7.      Pile on beans (drained)

8.      Pile on the olives

9.      Mix the chicken broth with the cooking creme in a separate bowl, then pour the liquid mixture over into the crock pot

10.  Stir it a little, but leave the chicken on the bottom

11.  Put the lid on the Crock-Pot®and cook on high for 6 hours

12.  Check the pot after 4 hours and again at five if you're around just to make sure the rice doesn't need a little more liquid. If it does, stir in a little water or broth. (Mine was fine, but I've made similar recipes where the rice was dry and needed more liquid.)

13.  Using two forks, shred the chicken and stir in with the rest of the casserole just before serving.

If you like (I did) serve with sour cream and tortilla chips on the side.

If you have leftovers, try wrapping them up in tortillas the next day. We did this and topped with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole and I can’t even remember what else—but you get the idea. It made some pretty decent burritos.

If you try it, I hope you like it. All I can say is, we didn't have to toss any of it out.

Peace, out,


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Christmas Trees Won't Fit in the Bathroom

I can write about this now, because it's over. But, I've danced perilously close to the line between sane and crazy these last few months...

Sugar and I are blessed with a large family, and we are grateful for each and every loved one. We love it when they all come over to visit. We were not, so much, prepared for five of them to move in for an extended stay. But, the economy and other disasters made it necessary. This is what family does, right?

The guestroom became an extended-stay bedroom, which meant all my off-season clothes had to either fit into my closet or be stored in the basement. Both my office and Sugar's also became extended-stay bedrooms, which meant that everything in those offices, including all the stuff stored in the closets, had to go downstairs. All of this had to happen quickly, which meant we ended up with what looked like the aftermath of a tornado in the basement.

When we first bought our current home, the partially finished basement served as an overflow area. It was eclectically furnished, and we could hang out there when all the family was around, or when we felt like rounding up a group of friends for Karaoke and didn't want trouble with the HOA. (The sound doesn't carry outside from the basement.) Also, there was a nice-sized storage room, the laundry room, and a pre-plumbed, but unfinished, bathroom.

We tried carving office space out of the storage room, but the Christmas trees wouldn't fit in the bathroom, which was the new storage room. With all the stuff now in what used to be the unfinished-but-not-too-bad Karaoke/Family room we were low on space for everyone to hang out separately when we started getting on each other's nerves. And, as I am slightly--okay, maybe much more than slightly--OCD, the chaos in my house was driving me to the brink of a breakdown.

Suddenly, the basement we might finish one day became the basement we needed finished lickety-split. All the stuff that had just been moved to the basement had to be moved to the garage. The cars had to be parked outside. Never one to pay someone else to do something he can conceivably do himself, Sugar drew up a construction plan, got a permit, and got to work--during the one day a week, some weeks, but not all, when he was home.

Progress was slow. Nerves frayed. Construction dust drifted upstairs and covered everything, no matter how often we cleaned. After about eight weeks, Sugar looked at me and said, "Call somebody." I did, and the work is mostly finished now. We had a few bad moments when we were cleaning the aftermath and moving things back in from the garage. Several pieces of furniture are worse for the experience, and one didn't make it.

But, we have a fully-functional family/Karaoke room now, with more than one bare bulb and a disco ball for lighting, and more than one electrical outlet to replace the two power strips and spaghetti bowl of extension cords. The Christmas trees have their own storage space. Sugar has his office back, and I have a killer new writing cave. And boy, does that extra bathroom come in handy.

Peace, out...