The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Archive for February, 2011

My Apologies

I want to let my Crusader pals know I haven’t forgotten about them. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just been a rough couple of weeks. Too much work, too much drama, and then Wonder Babe was here. Right now, as we get ready for our first book launch, the Puddletowners are still working day jobs and publishing nights and weekends. I don’t take a break until about now, 2 am.

So I’ve read a few blogs, made a couple of comments, and now I’m going to do a quick post and follow it with bed.

To make it worse, we had snow. I love snow. But I have fibromyalgia and fibro hates cold. Add in stress and overwork, and most of my “free” time goes to naps.

Fibromyalgia, contrary to old theories that said it was musculo-skeletal, is actually a malfunction of the central nervous system. In layperson’s terms, the only way I can explain it, it’s like having your nerves gossiping with one another, sort of a brain game of telephone. The message gets sent, gets changed, and ends up in the wrong place. So over-stimulation, for example, travels to, say, your hip, and suddenly you have severe pain. The next day, or even the next hour, it’s in your shoulder, your back, your neck, your other hip. I had one day last week when it was my whole left side. Your sleep center also gets messed up and many people with FMS, myself included, have numerous sleep disorders. In my case, it means several psychotropic drugs and other things are required to help me fall asleep, stay asleep, breathe while I sleep, not kick other people out of bed, and to keep me from acting out my dreams. Seven, count them, seven sleep disorders afflict me. So many I can’t even remember the names of a couple of them.

Barometric pressure affects the CNS, although I don’t understand how. So people with FMS feel horrible, and flare, anytime the barometer swings. Good or bad, weather changes make us hurt. I live for summer, when I have a couple of good months (I live in Oregon. Summer is not a full season.) I’ve threatened to move south for the winter.

Because FMS folks are always in pain, we take heavy doses of nasty painkillers. I really should be taking narcotics, but so far I’ve been resisting since I seem to be quite susceptible to them. They turn me into a moron. However, a friend and fellow FMS person is trying to convince me that the time has come. She assures me that I will get used to them and the cognitive fog will lift. Since FMS has its own cognitive problems, called fibro fog, taking drugs that cause further cognitive issues frightens me.

Anyway, this may be TMI, but I’m trying to educate the world on how FMS really affects its sufferers. As I often tell people, FMS won’t kill you, but some days you wish it would.


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How I Spent My Sunday – Wonder Babe Edition

The Amazing Wonder Babe Waves at You

This is the Amazing Wonder Babe saying hi. Okay, maybe she’s just waving at her mother. This little girl is very attached to her mommy and, after a combined total of over 30 years in child welfare, I have to say her grandmas are thrilled. My partner is a child attachment expert and she is absolutely enchanted with the way this baby and both her parents are bonded. So am I.

Wonder Babe Meets Good Dog Gwyneth

This was Wonder Babe’s first visit to Oregon. She lives in Seattle and she and her mom came down for a couple days with  the grandparents.  Poppy Face, her grandpa, lives just across the river.

The last time we saw Wonder Babe, we introduced her to our friend Kay’s dog and WB was not impressed. In fact, she was a bit afraid. But today she met Good Dog Gwyneth. (Well, they sort of met once before but it was raining and Gwynnie was outside).  And, yes, Gwyn is on the back of the couch. Gwyn is our funny-looking kid, part Jack Russell, part Springer Spaniel. She looks like someone took a giant Jack Russell head and put it on a Springer body. Yes, she does jump like a maniac at times. Then we pretend she’s a yo-yo. The woman mediating this introduction is my partner of 20 years, Jenny.  Yes, we are old. We’re grandmothers. One of the grandkids, the GrandGirl, is almost a teenager. What did you expect? Spring chickens?

Wonder Babe Reads Her First E-book

Wonder Babe was more interested in my NOOKcolor than the actual book, and more interested in Jenny and the dog than she was in the e-reader. But she quickly figured out how to enlarge the pictures and chew on the NOOK. Clearly, her mother is enjoying the story of colors more than she is.

Puddletown is going to be publishing several children’s picture books in the months to come and I can’t wait to announce them. But not quite yet. WB was our trial run. We have decided she is too young and maybe a two-year-old would be a better target audience. Really, WB just wants a dog.

WB is cutting her first tooth so everything went in her mouth. Including my finger, numerous times, to feel the little tooth starting to poke through. I’d forgotten about their jagged little edges. And to think, our oldest daughter, The Entrepreneur, and her husband, Army Pilot, are giving us another little girl on April 8th. GrandGirl, age 12, and GrandBoy, age 10, are excited, too. What a year!

She’s five-and-a-half months old. We love her. Don’t you?

Saving My Sanity

Okay, Crusaders, I had to do it. I apologize profusely. But when I looked at Google reader and saw several hundred posts from all you fabulous writers, I just had to do it.  Yep, I marked all as read.

Later today, I’ll start going through the posts that show up as new. But there was no way I could deal with several hundred posts. We are a prolific bunch.

In other news:

  • My upcoming book “Blind Leading the Blind,” a lesbian mystery, went to formatting yesterday. It will be released on March 20th by Puddletown Publishing Group. Yes, I know, I am a co-founder of the press. But my book had to go through the same process as all the others, and this one made the cut. Another one of my books did not. Well, it sort of didn’t. I have to do some serious rewriting on it then try again. That’s what happens when you have a blind acquisitions process. Even the owner can be rejected.
  • Building a social networking platform is fun. Too much fun in some cases. If any of you have ideas on how to reign in Twitter, let me know. I’m enjoying all the blogs and Tweets, and Facebook has been a big time suck for me for a couple of years now, but it’s overwhelming. My mother was a total Luddite and right now I’m sort of envying that.
  • Today, I have two things on my plate: Paying the bills and having some fun
  • Paying the bills means I have to do some writing for various clients. Yep. Non-fiction. Articles. Money. That sort of thing. With the new publishing company, we’re not yet drawing salaries, and I’ve had to put my indexing business on hiatus so I have time to do publishing. Things are tight. Thank God, I’ve got a big check coming soon and my partner’s tax refunds should be here any day.
  • Having fun: My favorite kind of fun! My middle daughter and the amazing 5-month-old Wonder Babe will be here this afternoon. There is nothing like a happy, well-attached, silly-face baby to make it all worthwhile. And, really, I find that the older I get and the more grandchildren I get (four in April), the more I find that I’m really doing everything for them. Whether it be writing a book, preaching a sermon, making the decision to live lightly on the earth, or starting a publishing company, it’s all becoming about what legacy I leave for my grandchildren. (To see some of my sermons, go here and here)
  • I’m skipping church. I love church. I love my church. But I also have fibromyalgia, a genuine pain-in-the-butt-and-everywhere-else condition. I have to set limits on what I do or I end up not being able to do anything. So years ago I instituted the one-thing rule. Basically, I allow myself one energetic activity per day (not counting work). And today it’s Wonder Babe.
  • This is especially important today as I did spend all of Friday night (until 9 am Saturday morning) doing final edits on my book. When I get to the end of a project, I can no longer work on it in small chunks. The last three passes have all been marathons, going through the entire book from start to finish. Unfortunately, Friday night was date night (that’s not the bad part) so I didn’t start editing until around 10 pm. (That’s the bad part.) Oh, well. It’s out the door and now I’m taking a few days to recharge before I start clean-up on the second book in the series.
  • Okay, in my final sanity saving move, it’s back to bed for this woman. Gotta get some energy before the Wonder Babe gets here.

Some Facts About Book Distribution

Here’s a great link with some info by an industry insider. More reasons to think ebook:

FYI: Another Bad Sign for Traditional Publishing

Check this link out. Now, apparently, at least one major publisher, Macmillan, is trying to get authors to sign over their copyright. Not just for the current work, but for any derivative works. If I understand correctly, derivative includes sequels, recordings, whatever. In perpetuity.

So, what does Puddletown do? First, you have to buy your own copyright, for $37 (paid to the government, not us), and we make sure YOU own your work. We don’t want it. Sure, if you write a sequel and want to publish it with us, we’ll talk. But all we want is your e-rights. For two years. As I said before, you can re-up with us, or we can part friends if you want to try something else when the two years are up.

This bit about Macmillan’s contract tells me that they are at the front of the pack, running scared. And just another word about Macmillan: I’ve been working for Macmillan as a freelancer in another capacity for many years. I like the people I work with. But Macmillan has outsourced most of its production to India and dropped the rates they pay freelancers into the realm of the ridiculous. This I don’t like.

Remember, in the last post, I told you that with our model, your royalties go UP over time? Just saying.

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