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Come see me in Ketchikan on Tuesday!

Cozy up with a good book.

Cozy up with a good book.

One of my favorite backstories about Just Breathe has to do with my friend Glenn. In the book, Sarah’s father is restoring a Mustang at Glenn Mounger’s Garage.

Here is a shot of the real garage, which belongs to the real Glenn. Yeah, I know. You really can’t call this a “garage.” It’s more like the Taj Mahal of Cars:

rare automobile collection that inspired a bit of Just Breathe

rare automobile collection that inspired a bit of Just Breathe

 Here’s a slide show, including shots of Gene Autry’s limo and the amazing Packard. Thanks to Glenn for lending his name and a touch of class to this novel.

It’s deja vu all over again.

PICTURE OF THE DAY from Publishers Weekly:

Writerly Love in Bainbridge
On Thursday at Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island, Wash., Susan Wiggs celebrated the launch of her latest hardcover, Just Breathe (Mira). Wiggs (c.) is pictured here with local authors (shown l. to r.) Sheila Roberts, Carol Cassella, Suzanne Selfors and Suzanne MacPherson.

aaaaaaand … the same shot, with 2/3 of my critique group, made “Shelf Awareness”! (missing are Elsa Watson and Anjali Banerjee). I just subscribed to Shelf Awareness, a free newsletter for anyone interested in books. No idea what took me so long. Thanks to this issue alone, I ordered American Wife and The Book of Calamities. Check it out here.

Image of the Day: Author and Her Writers Group

Last Thursday, Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, Wash., hosted a party for Susan Wiggs, whose Just Breathe has just been published. Here outside the store Wiggs posed with three members of her writers group (from l. to r.) Sheila Roberts, Carol Cassella, Wiggs and Suzanne Selfors–and, far right, Suzanne MacPherson, who is a local writer but not in the group. This coming Thursday Wiggs will do an autographing on the ferry to Bainbridge Island (Shelf Awareness, August 26, 2008).

(Courtesy of Shelf Awareness)

 

My novels do, anyway. These are songs I play to evoke a mood, a memory or simply to give myself a rhythm to write to.

Here are some of the songs on my Just Breathe playlist. Lots of road songs. Whether you like to play music while reading or writing, or if you simply like to relax and listen–enjoy!

“Breathe 2AM,” Anna Nalick. This inspired the title and set the mood for the entire book. Incredible song by a young woman with an old and shining soul.

And a few others…

I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith
“Unchained Melody,” The Righteous Brothers
Crazy For You,” Madonna
“Never Tear Us Apart,” INXS
In Your Eyes” Peter Gabriel
“Love Song,” The Cure
“Eternal Flame,” The Bangles
Come On,” Ben Jelen
“Fade Into You,” Mazzy Star
Faithfully,” Journey
Ruby Tuesday” and “Painted Black,” The Rolling Stones
“I’ll Be There For You,” Bon Jovi
Drive,” The Cars
Babe,” Styx
Save a Prayer,” Duran Duran

And okay, while looking up the links for these songs, I came across this shot of Journey in their parachute pants. Submitted without comment:

Lets hear it for parachute pants!

Let's hear it for parachute pants!

 

[zoom]

JUST BREATHE
by Susan Wiggs

RT Rating: ½
Category: MAINSTREAM FICTION
Publisher: Mira
Published: September 2008
Type: Mainstream Fiction

 

 

 

 

 



Wiggs delivers another witty and moving story. The author has few peers when it comes to truthful observation of human foibles and fancies. Many women will surely see themselves in Sarah — and those who don’t should at least be able to relate.



Summary:

Cartoonist Sarah Moon and her husband, Jack Daly, have been through a lot — testicular cancer, followed by a year of trying to become pregnant through artificial means — and it’s strained their relationship. Sarah thinks they’re OK, until she finds out the hard way that Jack’s been unfaithful. She does what any right- thinking woman would do: walks out, and keeps on going, all the way home to California.Surrounded by family and friends, Sarah’s happier than she’s been for a while — until she literally falls at the feet of fireman Will Bonner. The golden boy in high school, Will has problems of his own now — he’s raising his stepdaughter alone. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to fix things for Sarah, who admittedly needs a little help … especially after she finds out she’s finally expecting! (MIRA, Sep., 480 pp., $24.95)

—Catherine Witmer

 

 

 

This just in–Summer by the Sea is a New York Times bestseller. Look for it on the list for Sunday, August 17. Update! AND AGAIN on Sunday, August 24. Yeah!

I have the nicest publisher!

I have the nicest publisher!

They make every milestone into a party.

They make every milestone into a party.

00am....

I took this shot at 6:00am....

Do you think it's too early to crack open the bubbly?

Is that too early to crack open the bubbly?

 So did you like the movie?

Now, back to the backstory of The You I Never Knew. This series of posts started out as a reply to an e-mail from a fellow writer. By this point in our saga, the book has been written, sold and edited. Now it’s supposed to be published and become a bestseller, right?

Not so fast. One thing that happened to this book is it became “orphaned,” meaning the editor who acquired it moved on while the book was in production. It’s not a total disaster, but it’s usually not the best news for a book, either. Another editor adopts the project, and it’s a bit like she’s getting a foster child she didn’t ask for. In this case, it turned out to be a mixed blessing. They were right in the middle of designing the cover, and it looked like this:

cover never used on the you i never knew

the art i never used on the you i never knew

literary collection of stories

Now, this is not a terrible cover. It’s a fine piece of original art and the design and layout are reminiscent of a Nicholas Sparks cover, so those are pluses. It also looks a bit like Annie Proulx’s Close Range. But does this mean the cover is right for this book? Probably not. First of all, this would be a paperback original, not a hardcover book, so the art needs to “pop” on the shelf in order to stand out. The colors of this cover are muted and the mood is chilly. It might work on a hardcover jacket, but it doesn’t look instantly warm and inviting, like a “feel-good” novel.

So the acquiring editor had left and the new one came into the middle of cover design, knowing nothing about me or the book. There was a bright spot, though. The new editor was the extremely smart Maggie Crawford. This is the kind of foster mother the book needed–an experienced editor who understood the market for this book. She’d worked with many bestselling authors and had a fine eye for marketing women’s fiction. She took on the cover art issue with aplomb, and came up with this.

Book Cover

making the book look like a bestseller

It’s one of the least-relevant yet most commercial covers I’ve ever had. Here’s my analysis: At the time, I was not a name-brand author. Yet splashing my name on the cover in huge letters gave the illusion that this was a big book by a big author. The lettering itself–big, graceful block lettering–was reminiscent of the font used for blockbuster author Sandra Brown. 22 Indigo PlaceOr for bestseller Marcia Muller: Cover Image And of course, it capitalizes on the galloping popularity of the biggest novel of the ’90s, The Horse Whisperer. Cover Image   

So I’m back on track, right? My new editor rescued the novel from obscurity and now all I’d need to do is kick back and let the sales roll in. Oh, and I’d be working with Maggie on the next book, brainstorming the plot and building on the success of The You I Never Knew. Right? Right?

NOT.

Tune in tomorrow for a continuation of the tour through Big Business Publishing….

(stay with me–like my books, this has a happy ending…)

Here’s an invitation to my book launch party for Just Breathe. Hope you can make it! breathe_invites_final

 

Know what makes me happy? When I make friends with a writer and I’m a fan of her books. Which makes me glad I know Carol. Here’s an excerpt of my review of her debut novel. It’s published in its entirety on my favorite review site: www.writersarereaders.com.

Physician Carol Cassella’s haunting debut novel has generated a lot of pre-pub buzz — for good reason. It’s exactly the sort of book that gets people excited — fresh and different, something you can’t wait to share with a friend or better yet, with your book group. It’s a clear-your-schedule and turn-off-the-phone novel, the kind you want to hide away and read straight through to the end.

OXYGEN tells the story of Dr. Marie Heaton, a gifted anaesthesiologist facing a doctor’s worst nightmare — dealing with the fallout after something in the O.R. goes terribly wrong. It’s not a thriller, although a sense of impending danger and doom pervades each scene, building to a stunning and inexorable climax. Nor is it a medical procedural, though the book pulls aside the curtains on the mysterious and frightening (to lay people, anyway) workings of the operating room. OXYGEN is a story of tragedy and redemption, intricately plotted and told in a compelling voice that will keep you riveted to the page.

[...] I loved this book the way I loved MIDWIVES by Chris Bohjalian. I imagine there will also be favorable comparisons to THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, or maybe THE LOVELY BONES. The publisher describes this book as “Atul Gawande meets Jodi Picoult,” an awkward but apt shorthand to tell the reader that it combines the literary medical voice of the former with the tautly wound psychological drama of the latter. Yet Cassella writes with a quiet precision and grace all her own, firmly establishing herself as a talent to watch.

    Order OXYGEN from   
    Amazon     Barnes&Noble

reissues for July It’s a triple treat this month—three reissues! Even better, I’m on sale, dirt cheap.  The You I Never Knew and Passing Through Paradise are near and dear to my heart because they’re my first full-length books with a contemporary setting, and they rocketed my writing off into new directions. The original publisher, Warner Books, has changed hands. Now held by a French company, Hachette, the imprint is called Grand Central Publishing or GCP. What’s remained steady is the readership. My agent calls these “iconic” books, meaning they define a certain type of story with broad appeal. Boy, I hope so. The books are back in stores at a special price—$4.99. And in Target, they’ll be just $3.99 the week July 14. At Sam’s Club, they’ll be part of a 3-for $10 promo. Grand Central Publishing has a fun new web site—check it out here. There’s a bio and a couple of articles here.

Also this month, you’ll see a new edition of the anthology That Summer Place with novellas by Debbie Macomber, Jill Barnett and me. All this good reading!

[Thanks to the ultra-clever Celeste Faurie of Writerspace for the peeling cover art.]

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