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

Posts tagged ‘Good Dog Gwyneth’

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?

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An Interview with Susan Landis-Steward

Q. When did you decide to become a writer?

A. When I was four. I wrote poems which my father translated from hieroglyphs and stored in my grandmother’s German Bible. One was about a star.

Q. Your grandmother was German?

A. Well, her Bible was. I assume she was. Her last name was Rugenstein. You do the math. My father also said she was Jewish. She was dead by the time I came along. But she married a Mennonite, and they raised their kids Lutheran. You figure it out. I gave up trying to understand my family a long time ago. That’s probably another reason I write.

Q. So you just started a publishing company. What do you know about publishing?

A. More than you might think. I’m a few credits away from a Masters in Publishing. And I’ve been working in the industry for several years as an indexer. Oh, and I’ve had some stuff published. Besides, I chose great business partners.

Q. You write lesbian mysteries?

A. Yes.

Q. ?

A. You asked the question. I just answered it.

Q. Why lesbian mysteries?

A. Write what you know. I’m mysterious and lesbian. I’m also neurotic so my characters are neurotic. My mysteries are fairly autobiographical in many ways, but only those who really know me know which parts are me.

Q. Do you have a dog?

A. What kind of lesbian would I be if I didn’t have a dog? My dog is a Jack Russell Terrier/English Springer Spaniel mix named Good Dog Gwyneth. She’s a pound puppy. She thinks my partner is God. I am merely a door and can opener. Unless I’m going somewhere in the car. Then I become a temporary demiurge.

Q. Why do you use words like demiurge?

A. I have a Masters in Spiritual Traditions and Ethics. I seldom get to use those words.

Q. Are you some sort of religious freak?

A. Why, yes, I am. But not in the way most people think of it. I’m a JuBuEpiscoPagaTarian Universalist who reads the Qur’an for edification and studied for the Episcopal priesthood.

Q. You wanted to be a priest?

A. Until I realized I couldn’t bear to spend another minute with my seminary  classmates, yes.  As a layperson, the Episcopal church had a hard time shutting me up. I liked that. Now I preach in the UU tradition sometimes.

Q. Do you talk about religion in your books?

A. Sometimes. In the second book in my Blind series, I introduce a  woman priest as a character. Write what you know again. I know a lot of women priests. Although I like nuns better.

Q. Nuns?

A. I fell in love with my partner because she wore nun shoes. I love nuns. When I found out she’d done time in a convent, I was hooked.

Q. So there are lesbian nuns?

A. Well, duh.

Q. One of your main characters is blind. Why?

A. As a person with a disability, I’m fascinated by the ways people with disabilities find ways to live normal lives, whatever that means. Since my disability is hidden, I figured a character with a visible disability would be easier to write.

Q. How long have you and your partner been together?

A. Depends who’s doing the math but somewhere around 20 years.

Q. Math?

A. Yeah. I have a hard time remembering how old I am so I get the math wrong. I have to figure out how old the oldest kid is, and then remember which year she was born, and work from there. I get it wrong a lot.

Q. Kids?

A. And grandkids. I’m lesbian, not unplumbed. I’ve got three daughters, and almost four grandkids.

Q. Back to the math…

A. I can’t figure out how my cell phone works either. It has a big red button that says “END CALL” but when I answer the phone my brain says “PUSH ME.” I hang up on people a lot.

Q. About your brain…

A. Traumatic brain injury, October 9, 2002, during simple throat surgery. The brain injury would have been okay except for the three concussions in the years before. Cumulative effect. My brain finally gave out.

Q.  Huh?

A. I died. I did not see Jesus. I did not go toward the light. I caught a jump start from a passing surgeon, and an ancient Asian nurse scared me back to life by yelling, “BREATHE”  every time some alarm went off. For awhile, I was out of alignment, pulled to the left, had a weird kind of aphasia, used a cane to stay upright, and set things (usually things full of liquids) down on invisible tables. I also closed my eyes while driving.  I’m mostly okay now, though. Although, I did get fibromyalgia as a lovely parting gift.

Q. I’m glad your brain is better. What changed?

A. Knitting and spinning. I did a lot of both since I couldn’t work. I made lots of yarn and lots of scarves, hats, and sweaters. Later I learned that using both hands at the same time knits new neural pathways. Since I needed some new ones, I just made them myself.

Q. Thanks. We’ll do this again sometime.

A. Please send someone else to do the interview. Your questions suck.

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