Monday, December 21, 2009

Flamingo Poem

For Christmas I wrote a friend a poem. Then I thought blog readers might enjoy it too. So today, thinking of David, who always celebrated the Solstice, and is still doing so as part of the Universe, I suspect, here is a poem about light.

November Evening at the National Zoo

Thin grey light sifts through paddock and cage.
Locks snap shut.
Visitors hurry to the gates, while
wild deer watch in the shadows.

You and I are lost. Again.
Another wrong turn, another mis-read map and
we circle the locked bird house, a dead-end.
Then, just ahead, a vivid cacophony calls us.

On a wave of joy we surge forward.
Dazzled, we drown in a shimmering
flood of flame-pink flamingos,
aglow from within.

At last, surfeited and sure-footed
we find the path to the gate
Pass through it into the dark.


—Susan Moger

"I encourage you to continue to submit elsewhere. "

That's just what I plan to do! On Queryday, aka Tuesday. For now, on the other weekdays, I am applying everything I learned writing Grace at War to the new novel, the NanoWriMo( novel-in-progress. One book feeds the other.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Keeping On

A nice, positive rejection yesterday has generated renewed energy in sending out queries. As my confidants continually point out, I am still in the early days of my selling Grace campaign.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grace Makes an Impression!

Catherine Adams,, an editor who read Grace at War in July 2008, wrote this to me recently:

“There have been these strange moments when visions of Grace and her brother have popped up this summer. I've been working on a book about war (nonfiction), so that's probably why. Still it shows how the book sticks--it's those odd compelling images....One of those images that keeps coming back (and remember, this is memory, so it may not be exact) is Grace floating in the water and looking up....It's like I'm there, my ears below the surface of the water, time stopped, only the ripples of the water letting me know that this moment--like everything--will pass.”

Thanks, Catherine!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Won a Contest ... and more!

This came last week:
"Dear Lori, Nikki, Lisa, and Susan:

I am thrilled to announce that the four of you are the winners of the very first Backspace Agent-Author Seminar Scholarship Contest!

The four of you will be receiving a scholarship to attend the 2009 Backspace Agent-Author Seminar, taking place on November 5th & 6th at the Radisson-Martinique Hotel in New York City.

Chris and Karen from Backspace will be in touch with you shortly to discuss the details.

And Joanna and I both look forward to meeting all of you in person in November!

Also an agent requested full manuscript of Grace at War!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Iowa Book Doctors Rx

"Grace is a very engaging character due to her passion and loyalty to Worth [her brother] and the memories of Jack and Buddy. She is also on the cusp of womanhood, and the tensions of this transformation are subtly brought into view." ---Iowa Book Doctors

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Text on screen

The synopsis en plein air.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Horoscope Today

From Washington Post:
"In order to complete a cycle and move on to a new one, you must let go. You will do this with great ease when you focus on the wonderful things that are likely to happen once you move on."

The stars have spoken. The book is on the move!

Still Rewriting Synopsis

Other blogs have illustrations. Here is my outside office. Where I am herding words into new configurations again. Like dumb beasts yoked to the covered wagon of the query, my words long to graze and wander willy-nilly over the prairie instead of being force-marched down a dirt track to Oregon.

The Oregon of representation.

Gee. Haw.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Can a 35-Year-Old Letter Help GRACE?

Thanks to a letter from a (still very active) NY publisher, I wrote my first novel, WOUNDS. The publisher wrote to me on May 29, 1974, about my short story, "Then the Lieutenant Busted Up the Party," that had appeared in the NY Times. In subsequent correspondence he asked to see my novel. That first novel never found a home, but I didn't mention that when I queried him today. (Yes, he is still at the helm.) In my cover letter I did mention his letter, my NY Times story, and my continued passion for the effects of war on families of veterans, one of the main themes of GRACE AT WAR.

Oh and in the bio, I mentioned meeting Anais Nin in person. Through a fiction course at the New School. In that class I was too shy to read a word aloud but at one point the teacher said, "Susan looks like a great writer."

I didn't put that in the query.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Making a Bed

The query process is like making a bed. Make sure you have a solid foundation to work with (mattress), smooth out any wrinkles, fluff pillows, and align the coverlet(ter) perfectly with what's underneath. No short sheeting or short changing.
Like making a bed, easier said than done.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August Lull

Perfected query, researched agent, hit send, opened speedy reply:
"I'm not reading queries in August, resend in fall."
Undaunted. On to the next!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Art of Selling

Squeezing lemons, sweetening the juice, adding water, pouring over crushed ice into just the right cup would be easy in August, compared to querying agents on behalf of my novel. But I'm offering them the equivalent of lemonade on a hot day--a book to quench readers' thirst, wake up their taste buds, and refresh their spirits.

The graves of two brothers, buried side by side in an upstate New York cemetery. The older brother died in Vietnam and his teenage brother committed suicide upon hearing the news.

Their story inspired two of my characters in GRACE AT WAR.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August Push

So here it is August 3rd and I am preparing the synopsis--again!--as part of a renewed campaign to query agents who haven't yet expressed interest. The jury is still out on three who did request samples. I will account for myself here, in writing, so you and I can see if I'm on track.

Last night I had a surge of confidence in Grace and my ability to distill the novel into a form to immediately attract the positive attention of an agent. I will keep you posted on the campaign. Some of my readers are slogging along the same path; your comments are most welcome!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Christmas, 1996

I wrote this in 1996 at the beginning of a revision process that started in Mary's wonderful class. This conversation with Bruce inspired me to go deeper. And for that I thank him and my other guides along the way: friends and fellow writers. And Ted, who is the best guide.

In a room lit up with a Christmas tree
and a brand new Barbie Movie Theater,
Bruce took me to Vietnam.
To firebase Snuffy and the triple canopy jungle,
To Cambodia and back.

He was the skinny boy, 115 pounds after malaria,
who celebrated his twenty-first birthday in country.
He showed me his scar,
Claymore shrapnel still inside his shoulder,
And gently named the bronzed boys
mugging for the camera on the day they died

The children ran around the room,
pulling us together, binding up the wounds that never heal:

“Every morning when I look in the mirror,” he said,
“I wonder why I lived and they died.”

Susan Moger

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Iraq War and Vietnam Vets

Interesting article in the Washington Post:
Suppressing Fire…won’t.
—Murphy’s Law for Grunts

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


GRACE AT WAR is an 80,000-word literary/commercial novel.
During the explosive summer of 1970, sixteen-year-old Grace, reeling from a home-front trauma of her own, enlists in her combat-veteran brother’s flashback-fueled mission to find answers about the rape of an American nurse in Vietnam. On this mission Grace is ambushed by the rapist, stripped of her illusions, and ultimately forced to find her true soldier's heart in order to save her brother and herself.

GRACE AT WAR recently won first prize in the Maryland Writer’s Association Novel Contest, in the category, Mainstream/Literary.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brother War

Home he came
Kicked down the door
Swore his name
Was Brother War.

Day and night
He begged for more,
“Light, oh, light,”
Cried Brother War.

Horrors cease
Deaths haunt no more.
Sister Peace
Saves Brother War.

Susan Moger