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

Archive for the ‘Blind Leading the Blind’ Category

Today, I am a Thief!

That thing to your left, assuming you are facing the monitor and not doing something odd or impossible, is a synringa vulgaris. And it is mocking me.

I am married to a woman who thinks driving around exploring the countryside by tooling down rutted mud-filled roads in my car is fun. On one of her excursions, she found this lilac. The important thing about this lilac is the color. This picture, which is from wikimedia commons, does not do it justice.

The lilac she has been jonesing after for years is a deep dark cousin of this one. She’s tried to find it in nurseries, but it’s always disappointed her by being not-quite this color. They’ve all turned out to be, horrors, lavender.

So, she found this lilac, or one like it only darker, in one of her many excursions, and today, in the interest of distending my bladder just a bit further before taking me home, she had to go by and “visit” it.

The property it sits on is a) vacant and b) for sale. For $800,000. So I suggested she take cuttings. Aiding and abetting a crime is nowhere near as bad as committing it. So she pulled  MY car up so that MY window was right next to the damn thing and proceeded to coerce me into stealing branches off the lilac of her dreams. (Warning to all the lesbians out there: Never marry a butch wannabee.)

The evidence is now in a jar on top of the dishwasher waiting for us to go get rooting hormone. Mocking me, I say.

On the flip side, while searching for lilacs on wikimedia, I came across an entry for lilac-crowned Amazon. Thinking I’d find a Dianic goddess wearing nothing but a drooping crown of synringa vulgaris and a breastplate, I had to click. Instead, I found this.

That, my friends, is an Amazona finschi. Which has nothing to do with lilacs or Sapphic beauties. It’s just a parrot with a red forehead. And that’s what I learned today.

If you want to know more about lesbians and butch wannabees, you could read my book. Blind Leading the Blind, only $3.99 at Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Lesbians, mysteries, a blind woman, motorcycles, kids, horses, sex, belly dancers, what more could you want? (I didn’t say that. The parrot did.)

Buy the book! Squawk! Buy the book already! Written by a real-live thief! Squawk!

A New Interview by Dragonfly Scrolls


H is for Handicap

Right off, let me acknowledge that “handicap” is an archaic and politically incorrect term unless you’re talking golf or horse racing. But I wanted to talk about my character, Liz Gearhart, who is a person with a disability. And I already did “D.”

I used to think disabilities happened to “them” until I woke up in a hospital bed with a brain injury after a brief encounter with death. While most folks would never notice the disability now, almost 10 years out, it’s still very much there. Just ask my partner about last night. I was a beast.

No, that’s not my disability. I do not turn into a monster by the light of the moon. But if I get tired, or my brain gets overstimulated, or I push myself too far (which I do way too often), I become cranky, I pull to the left when I walk, I trip, stumble, and fall, and I whine. Oh, do I whine. I also set things down in thin air, usually things filled with liquid, and I close my eyes to shut out the environment.  Not a good thing if you’re driving. And, yes, I have done this while driving. So, in the last 10 years, I’ve had to learn a lot about living with a disability.

I chose Liz’s disability because it is visible. She’s blind. I’ve had several friends over the years who were blind, deaf, paraplegic, or otherwise visibly disabled. I’ve spent a lot of time talking with them, and as a former reporter I tend to ask LOTS of questions. And, invariably, I’ve been impressed with how, well, “normal” they all are. Well, except my blind friend who once drove from Moscow, ID to Pullman, WA with a bunch of drunks yelling “A little to the left.” “A little to the right.” He justified this behavior as being sober and therefore the designated driver. He’s just crazy.

Having a disability does not suddenly make you stupid, incapable, or somehow less than. That’s hard for me to remember when I’m feeling my worst. But, despite a disabling condition, I manage to work more than full time, travel, play, preach, write, and generally enjoy life. Yes, I do sleep more than I’d wish. My brain gets tired and knocks me flat on my back.

But back to Liz. I wanted to write about a person with an acquired disability who manages to keep doing the things she’d done before, albeit modified or in a different way, and who is not some sort of fictional “Wonder Woman” with hyper senses to compensate, able to see better than sighted people. I wanted a complex, multifaceted, sometimes angry, sometimes brave, sometimes quirky, often intelligent, sometimes stupid, and mostly just plain “normal” person. Who just happens to be blind.

And I wanted to explore the reactions and feelings of the so-called “normal” woman who falls in love with her. Hence, Erik.  A strong, capable, neurotic woman who has to wrestle with her feelings for a) this particular woman and b) the fact that this particular woman is blind.

I guess it gave me a chance to explore more of my own feelings, about being disabled and about how we all treat folks with disabilities. And I’ll be exploring it even more in coming books about the duo. Stayed tuned.

Blind Leading the Blind is available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Smashwords for the low price of just $4.99.


This post brought to you by the words handful, hurricane, heart, hell hound, and heavenly. Also by the numbers….hm, are there numbers that start with “h”? Maybe in Japanese, but I can’t remember. Please advise.


My Book is OUT!

My first book was part of the first Puddletown Publishing launch. Blind Leading the Blind is the first in a lesbian series about Erik(a), a defrocked detective, and Liz, a blind psychologist. It’s mostly a mystery, but there is romance, a dog, even some discrete sex. It’s also funny. I like neurotic characters, I am a neurotic character, and can’t imagine writing about perfect people. (Even though Erik does believe, at times, that Liz is the World’s Greatest Blind Lady. Don’t worry, she’s not. In fact, she can be a royal pain.) Also features horses, Portland, snow, and did I mention sex?

Anyway, you can buy it from that carousel over there to the right (—->) for $4.99 at Amazon. (once I figure out how to get it back).  As soon as B&N gets it’s act together, you can get it for Nook. Also available at in all sorts of formats..

Other books in the launch, also available ——-> and at Smashwords are Kidnapping the Lorax by Pat Lichen (a real-life Greenpeace pirate) and Volunteer for Glory by Alice Lynn (a Civil War historical romance.) Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice, a middle grade/YA fantasy by Roxanna Matthews, is at Smashwords. Amazon is  having hiccups over it, but it should be there soon.

If you buy any of them, and I hope you do, please leave a review on Amazon or Smashwords. Thanks.

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