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Why must I photograph so badly...

Today I had a photo-shoot for a newspaper interview! It was very exciting. I spent three hours getting ready and after 20 minutes of photographing I think the photographer was afraid his lense would crack so it was over.

I had a quick look at the pictures and while in most of them I resembled a deformed penguin one or two had me faking normalcy quite successfully!

I do not have photos to share but I do have something even more awesome!

www.mercierpress.ie/news/86-derek-landy-damsel-launch.html

Here you will find some info about my lauch and a pdf excerpt from Damsel! My publishers are so clever.

In other news we are fearful that the rabbits may be pregnant. There will be pictures if this becomes apparent by the presence of baby bunnies.

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I had a book launch!

There are those things in life, that no matter how well prepared you are will always terrify you. Formal balls, first dates, meeting the parents, and I feel Book Launches. I got the date for my launch 6 weeks ago, and became instantly paranoid and neurotic about it. What if nobody came? What if the bookshop decided they hated me and refused me entry? What if I was hit by a car, lost my memory and wandered the streets lost and alone while people waited for me? What if nobody came?

I engaged upon a flurried campaign of being nice to people, contacting old boyfriends and school friends and adding everyone I possibly knew on facebook so that I could invite them along. I expected ten people, I hoped for thirty, and eventually I was confronted with too many to count - at least seventy. I have amazing friends and family. My books sold out!! Apparently this is unprecedented.

Dubray Books were amazing, I showed up a half hour early and immediately started signing books, which is apparently against all protocol, but instead of beating me with copies of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, they simply worked around me and my inettiquette (I feel that should be a word)

Derek Landy is a wonderful person who gave a great speech and made me feel very special and in such illustrious company how could I not?

Not only that, but there were actual children aged 8-12 there, some of whom had actually read the book and liked it! I am so happy!

Here are some pictures that my friend randombassist.wordpress.com took, I think there are more to come.
Pictures!Collapse )
Book Launches are awesome!

New Year's Resolutions

I have never been a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. This is not because of some deep philosophical objection, but mostly because I tend to forget about the concept until around Easter-time, at which point it just feels wrong - that's not only three months from the calendar start, but a full six from the Celtic New Year! It's like buying a new calendar - all the previous months are lonely and empty and I have to go back and remember what I did so I can fake it as having been planned.

"But Susan," you may say "how could anyone forget about the New Year? There are parties, and countdowns, and a new digit at the end of all the dates!"

This may be true, but given that my birthday is December 31st, I tend to give "The New Year" short shrift on my list of priorities.

However, having been reminded by Sinéad's post on the issue over at http://sineadkeogh.wordpress. I am resolved to... resolve.

Resolutions Ho!

1. Make resolutions [TICK!]
2. Update Livejournal at least weekly [TICK - so far]
3. Write at least 3500 words weekly [a daily limit would be very foolish I feel, and having a small bar will make me feel successful!]
4. Publicise book more successfully (or at all...) [I have an amazon listing y'all! ]
5. Sort out the hilarious pile of boxes and notes and boxes of notes that towers above my bed and threatens to hurt me. [it is like a mountain]
Anyone with interesting resolutions give me a shout-out! I may steal them for my improvement...

Keeping in Contact

Hello Livejournal,

I am a dreadful updater, it is true. Sometimes my friends will spy me in the street and bodily drag me to a coffee shop, because if they are not readily available to me, I will like as not not have spoken to them in months. This is not because I do not like them, it is simply because I am terribly scatterbrained and invariably busy, and often when I am finally free and sit myself down to email or call, I close my eyes for a brief second and when I wake up it is the next day and I am late!

So livejournal, it's not you, it's me, and I still love you, I promise.

The things that have been keeping me busy are mostly vet related, where I plod down to the hospital in the early hours of the morning and play fun games with the animals. These include "rear up and smack Susan in the back with my hooves", "turn my head quickly and smash Susan in the face with my head", and the ever-popular "wiggle around and scratch Susan with my claws" games. Oh what fun we have!

I have also been a little bit ill, and my body's reaction to illness is to sink into a deep stupor from which I cannot be woken (This is not very different from my normal sleeping stupor. I once slept through the replacement of a window. Above my head. There was drilling. For four hours. The builders thought I might be dead.) But I am also on call, and wake every hour automatically to check my phone and make sure I haven't missed anything.

The end result is that I am running on caffeine and sugar and not very much else.

When I have had time to think I have been thinking about better ways to keep in touch. I already have gmail chat, and a phone, and a blog reader, but I wondered if there might be more, so I have joined Twitter.com as susanconnolly. You can follow me! and I can follow you! It will be a conga line of awesome! But there must be more ways that I don't know about.

How do you keep in touch when you're busy?

I Think I May Have Gone Insane...

... but what a wonderful feeling it is.

Many lovely people left me helpful comments in response to my last post, which I am going to respond to individually after dinner :)

Perhaps the most practical was the suggestion to start on the shortest one, because then I don't have to wait so long to start another. Very wise! 

Where the insanity comes in is my belief that I can totally write 20,000 words in the 4 days before I start back at Vet.

After all, in the past I've written 1,000 word articles in an hour, so at 5 hours a day - TRA-DA!

Now they may not be very good words, but I think this will be an interesting intellectual exercise (and gives me a great reason not to iron my clothes and put them in my new wardrobe.

Madness or Genius?

What are your currebnt insanely stupid and impractical plans?

For the past two weeks I have been hiding under a rock. Occasionally I would reach out from under my rock and reach desperately for the internet but my friends would stamp on my fingers until I capitulated. This is because my friends are good people who only want what is best for me.

Last Wednesday I had an exam in Veterinary Medicine which was single-handedly deciding whether or not I was actually in final year or not. With the help of my friends, family, and jack-booted thugs employed to push me if I did anything but study, I passed! I am very happy, and above all excited to be sleeping more than 5 hours a night (as someone who becomes unbearably grumpy without their good 8 hours, and 30 minute morning nap, and 45 minute afternoon nap I feel this might explain some of the overenthusiasm shown in jumping on my fingers).

Now, you may think to yourself "That was Wednesday, and now it is Monday. Did she sleep for FIVE DAYS?" and if I had my way, you would not be wrong. But those friends that I spoke about earlier decided that it would be good to take me out of myself, so they loaded me in a car and took me down to Ladies' Day at the Galway races.

Ladies' Day at the Races (not just the Galway ones, there are many races. We're mad for the horses here) is a very special strange kind of weird thing. Everyone gets dressed up basically as if they're going to a wedding, in impractical shoes and wearing a hat, and bets on horses and cheers on their pick. Then there is a special prize for the best dressed ladies. I do not think you can bet on them, and they definitely don't like it when you try and cheer them on.

There is a problem with this. It is Ireland, and in Ireland it rains - even in summer. Galway is in the west, and in the west it rains ESPECIALLY in the summer. The horses looked sad. One of my lovely companions found that the blue dye that ran from her feathery headdress mixed with her blonde hair to give it a lovely green tinge. We saw girls wearing bin bags over their shoes. We became extremely close and familiar with some lovely men who owned umbrellas.

I had a very successful time at the races.

I discovered an uncanny ability to recognise the horse that will seem to be winning until it's coming up to the post, at which point it will come second. I also discovered that "betting each way" would have gotten me money for that :(

Many young gentlemen were exceedingly nice to me. A barman gave me a free glass of wine and a wink. A group of boys pleaded with me to give a birthday kiss to their friend. I was asked out for a drink later on!

Then it was pointed out to me that my lovely cream dress had combined with the wet wet rain to become a lovely translucent dress. I am however, a self-sufficient young lady, so I McGyvered my way out of the situation with some plasters. Unfortunately, this was somewhat too successful, and I have yet to work up the courage to remove them....

So, In between sleeping and being rained on and losing money on horses, what have I been doing? (Well, I have been reading my friend Sinéad's blog  because it is hilarious, but apart from that...)I have been beating my head against a wall because I have too many story ideas.

Writer's Remorse

Have you ever heard of buyer's remorse? It's the longing for what you didn't choose, the desire for what you decided you didn't want, the fact that even though you know you prefer chocolate, now that you've left the shop you really really want vanilla.

I have that, but for story ideas instead of icecream (although now I kinda want some icecream) Basically, while I was studying I built a dam in the part of my brain that comes up with stories, and as soon as the exam was over the dam burst and now there is a flood.

So here are the ideas:

1. Middle Grade Urban Fantasy.  3rd person POV, mostly about Gargoyles, shortest wordcount, female heroine w/ female best friend.

2. Y.A. Urban (Rural?) Fantasy.  3rd person POV, Irish Mythology, mid-range wordcount, kinda romancey, female heroine with nice brother-sister dynamic.

3. Adult Mystery/Romance. Slightly Alternate Universe (like in the last 5 years) 1st person POV. Female heroine (yes, I know...)

Okay, so these are a bit light on the detail, right? So how do I expect people to help me choose without knowing about the plot etc? See, I figure they all have good plots, I love them all equally and I shan't listen if other people don't! But I guess I will expand if people ask me to :)

In many ways I am grateful. Too many ideas is I think better than none at all, but I can only work on one at a time, and what if I pick the wrong one? Normally I would ask mistful but she is off gadding around the states like a hussy and I am not at all jealous of her. So therefore I am asking the Internet, both to help me pick and to tell me how YOU decide what you're going to do. Not necessarily about writing either, how do you choose chocolate or vanilla.

Thank you for helping if you help, and for reading if you can't, but either way, here is a cute picture:

This post was supposed to be about chickens. I was very excited about it - I have had chickens since I was a wee child and I think they're awesome.  But, as I am a final year veterinary student my time is not my own. Last week, and for the next three weeks I am on rotation in the veterinary hospital in UCD, so I leave my house in the dreary rainy early morning darkness and return to my house in the dreary rainy late night darkness. This is also why I have been lax in replying to comments. I am so sorry! I will do my best to catch up.
 
This dreary darkness is not condusive to photographing chickens. They do not like it. They look at you in their beady little chicken way and remind you that, evolutionarily speaking, they are close to hawks and eagles and will certainly peck out your eyes if you bother them.
 
So, Saturday, when I slept in till the hedonistically late hour of 10:30 am, I got up, fresh rested and eeager to photograph chickens to be confronted by... dreary rainy daytime darkness. I was most upset. I went out to the chickens anyway, camera in hand, but they cawed at me and refused to move. So I have no pictures. But, on the plus side, I am still in possession of both my eyes and all my fingers, so I'm going to chalk this one up as a plus, overall.
 
I do not think it's fair to talk about chickens without pictures, so instead I am going to talk about the second-most common question I am asked when people find out about my book deal. (Well, when i say find out I mean are accosted by me the instant I see them while I crow and boast with unbridled glee. It is tough to be my friend sometimes.)
 
If any of you are writers, or intend to be writers, why do you write what you write? What do you think about the distinctions between "real" fiction and genre?

A Smorgasboard of Comments

So I asked in the last post what people would like me to talk about. The general comments so far seem  to be:

1) Sarah is awesome
2) I am WRONG WRONG WRONG about Mr. Darcy
3) Some discussion on feminism
4) A request to learn about chickens!

Regarding the first, there's really not much more I can add. Sarah is, objectively, brilliant. I heart her very much. Though I am somewhat worried about what might happen if she asked people to hurt me instead of congratulate me...

In terms of Mr. Darcy, I seem to have opened up a rather large and slimy can of worms! Mr. Darcy has been defended by many, with a particularly incisive and long commentary by the_merope. I agree completely that he doesn't tick the classic "rescuer" box, but the thing is, when i was writing the article I asked around, and the main reasons most people I asked had for liking him so were 1) "Shirtless Colin Firth!", 2) "He's so great to help out her sister" and 3) "Shirtless Colin Firth!". So given the reasoning that I was given for the survey result, that is why I put it in the article. So please! There is no need to defend Mr. Darcy from me! :)

And then, feminism... Oh feminism.... I wrote an article about my stance on this a few years ago for my college paper, and given that I do not like to waste words, here it is! (Please bear in mind this was a colour article for a student newspaper - I have nothing against Arkansas)


Now, this article is both quite UCD-centric and short, and also was written several years ago. I have done much living, learning, and growing up since then, so I have some further comments.

I think a lot of people have a problem calling themselves feminists, for a variety of reasons, but there are two that I find quite common.

There is always a problem identifying yourself with a group, especially a group with a large membership, because by doing so you are associating yourself with everyone else who belongs to the group or takes on that label, even if you disagree with them. This was a big part of the problem that I had. I don't believe men are evil, or that all sex is rape, or that all male-initiated sex is rape, or really in the efficacy of  gender quotas. And feminists believe that, so how could I be a feminist?

But the thing is - SOME feminists believe one or other of these things, not all, probably not even many. But the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and those most vocal or most beyond the norm are often those who typify a movement to outsiders, because those are the ones that get attention. But the problem with avoiding a group because of a disagreement with some of its members is one of the big problems that feminism seeks to solve. By doing this, you are letting others define you, you are letting others speak for you instead of speaking for  yourself, and you are doing yourself and your thoughts and your views a great disservice.

The other issue, I think, is that admitting a need for feminism feels an awful lot like admitting a flaw in yourself. I have been told since birth that I am as good as a man, as talented as men, and hold as much potential as a man. So, surely if I was good *enough*, worked hard *enough* any latent sexism would be overcome by the awesomeness that is me! Admitting that things aren't fair, accepting that there are things I can't control, asking for help all seem contrary to the idea of a sister doing it for herself. And yet, it's true. Feminism is still necessary - the price of equality is eternal vigilance, and even if I have been lucky enough to only interact in a microcosm of equality and fairness, there are many who have not, and I owe them my voice.

Goodness! That went on for a long time, and I have to take pictures, so chickens will have to wait...

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though I often find that thoughtless comments are more entertaining.

Everyone seems to have blogs nowadays. I sometimes read the blogs of my friends before I talk to them so I can seem like an intuitive friend who knows what's going on in their lives before they even tell me!

But with so many blogs, maintained by people far more entertaining and worthwhile than me, it felt wrong to start my own when I didn't have anything to really blog about.

Having said that, I am pleased to say that I am officially contracted with Mercier Press, Ireland for the Irish rights to my middle-grade novel - Damsel, to come out Summer 2009.

Damsel follows the journey of 10 year old Annie Brave, daughter of a famous hero. When he is missing, presumed eaten, she takes his manuscript "How to slay dragons - and other advice for the hero in training" and sets off to get him back. But can a damsel ever do the rescuing?

Damsel is my first novel, but I have had a few non-fiction articles published here and there, including features in InDublin magazine and book reviews in the Sunday Business Post.

So here I am, blogging, on my blog (ever notice how if you say a word enough times it starts to lose all meaning?). I'll be blogging (sigh) about writing, reading, re-writing, and really anything that comes to mind.

It may be that I shall have no readership at all and will have to go outside and eat worms, but if there is anything in particular anyone would like to know, please ask!

The following article was published in edited form in InDublin Magazine in 2007, and was, if not the inspiration, certainly the catalyst for Damsel.