Comparison is the thief of joy

This week’s episode of Flaws Are The New Black is about the pitfalls of comparison. Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “comparison is the thief of joy” and maybe you haven’t. But I’m here to tell you, it is. When we compare ourselves or our lives to others’, we suffer. When we compare our current selves to our past selves, we suffer as well. Just look at this teary pic of me feeling bad for myself because I don’t look like the photo on either of my book jackets any more. Oy vey, Susan. Knock it off!

The trick to ending this suffering is throwing out every single solitary photo of myself. I’m kidding. I plan to burn them.

No, the trick is GRATITUDE. I need to be grateful for the fact that I’m awake, alive, safe, healthy. (Maybe not mentally healthy but hey, you can’t have everything.) I need to be grateful that I have two incredible sons, friends and family who love me, work I enjoy, and yummy wine to drink at night.

Aging sucks but it’s better than the alternative. Comparison sucks too because it makes me ask myself, “how bad could the alternative to aging really be?” 

Comparison sucks us down the rabbit hole. Gratitude takes our hand and pulls us out. I hope you’ll watch the episode. It’s called Comparison is a Killer. Worse yet, it makes you cry!



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7 Reasons Working From Home Isn’t Working For Me


I work from home. I’m a writer. I can’t afford an office. I guess I could, if I gave up getting my hair and nails done and buying shoes and handbags, but I can’t. All that stuff is investment spending for the moment I get my big break, make the New York Times Bestseller List, and start fielding calls from Hollywood. I believe that looking successful attracts success. Of course it also attracts bill collectors, but I promise to pay them as soon as I get my first film deal and my first real office which must be, in no uncertain terms, as far from my family as possible. Why?

1. Because I can no longer get up early enough to get anything done. I have the internal alarm clock of livestock, which was fitting when I lived on a farm. Every morning I was up and writing with the roosters. Now I live on a vineyard with my new husband. A man who has two speeds – fast forward and asleep. Except lately he doesn’t sleep. If I’m awake, he’s awake. And that means that even if I’m at my desk at 4:15 in the morning, I find myself sharing my office with my beloved better half. And wondering if I can kill him without getting caught.

2. Because I’m at everyone’s beck and text. I hate cell phones. And text messages. Nothing makes the words I’ve worked so hard to craft sprout wings and fly from my head faster than the “ding!” of my cell phone. And Heaven forbid I ignore the “ding!” Then the stupid thing starts to ring. And then all I want to do is flush it, which is a really bad move…

3. Because if I get up to go to the bathroom I feel compelled to clean it, and every other room in the house. And now you know the secret to my success. I keep a commode chair in the closet.

 4. Because normal business hours around here are as quiet as a construction site. The BBC is blaring bad news in the living room, the microwave is beeping its brains out in the kitchen, and my husband is talking loudly and animatedly on his cell while checking email, feeding the fish, and watching a video about bees which is blasting over the British chick. He thrives on all this stimulation. I thrive on silence. Which I achieve by ramming earplugs so far into my ears they could meet in the middle of my head.

5. Because if I’m hungry there’s nothing to eat because someone (me), needs to go to the store. What I need is to put a little fridge next to my secret potty. But then, you shouldn’t shit where you eat. Or maybe I’ve misunderstood that expression.

6. Because lost and occasionally inebriated individuals mistake our house for a winery. As I mentioned, I live on a vineyard and my husband’s very popular winery is located directly behind our house. Although the road is clearly marked with signs that say “Residence” and “Winery,” it never fails that somebody gets confused, strolls into our kitchen, and announces they’d like to do a tasting. I used to reply, “Sure. I’ve got iced water, orange juice, and Gatorade,” but I stopped. I mean, sports drinks are expensive.

7. Because our Internet access is frequently inaccessible. It’s awful. When our Internet goes out, I can’t write. I stamp my feet and cry. Reboot my computer and curse. And then I do something dangerous: I leave my office. Ignoring the dust on the piano and crumpled pillows on the couch, hurdling the shoes my husband’s left on the floor and forcing myself not to collect the mountain of dog hair in the corner that’s quickly forming its own county, I take the stairs two at a time to the loft praying the light on the modem will be green. But all too often it’s not. I can deal with the interruptions, the noise, even the fact that I’m forced to pee in the closet next to my summer clothes. But if I can’t connect to Google, I’m a goner. Literally. I pack up and leave to find Wi-Fi. And why not? There’s no place as loud as this place, and besides, I’ve got plenty of earplugs.

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It’s gonna be great

If you’re free Friday night (October 23rd),  join me — and 24 terrific local authors — for Great Writers, Right Here.”

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We’ll be in the John Barton Payne Building at 2 Courthouse Square, Warrenton, so stop in and do some shopping before you go out to dinner!

  • Drop in any time 6-8 p.m. to browse our booths.
  • Meet and talk with us. We love that.
  • Books will be available for purchase, so shop for yourself or someone you love. A book signed by its author makes the best gift.
  • Door prizes will be awarded every 30 minutes.

Hope to see you there!

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My favorite, albeit slightly painful, source of inspiration

I recall a friend once saying that, for an author, the customer reviews on are both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because what author doesn’t enjoy hearing how their work touched someone else, or made them laugh, or helped them realize they’re not alone in whatever they’re going through, and a curse because most, and I do mean most, of the customer reviews are written by those who absolutely hated the author’s book.


I’ve heard from dozens of people who despised my books and, much as it hurt, I read and considered each and every comment. And then I cried. And I tried to decide which manner of suicide would make the smallest mess. And then I thought, the hell with them. Most of them don’t even know what the word counterfeit means.

But I’ve also gotten a fair share of wonderful reviews for both books and every now and again, when I’m having a tough writing day and need to remind myself that I can do this, that I can make people laugh and heal and feel less alone, I go out to Amazon and read the nice notes readers have left me. (As you can imagine, I do this reeeeaaaallly carefully. I cover one eye, squint with the other, and practically stick my face to my computer screen. This narrows my field of vision quite nicely and helps me miss things like “I hate that I can’t give less than 1 star!” Or maybe it doesn’t.) In any case, I re-read the lovely notes because they are my absolute favorite source of inspiration and, if you’ve left me one, thank you, thank you, thank you!

If you would like to leave me one, simply click here.  This will take you to a page with both my books. Once you’re there, click on the link for Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl and/or 500 Acres and No Place to Hide. At the top of the page it will say “92 customer reviews” (or “30 customer reviews” if you’re on the 500 Acres page). Click on that statement and it will take you to an area where you can “Write a customer review.”

It takes a few minutes, so thank you, thank you, thank you! for reading my books, leaving me a review, and being my favorite source of inspiration.







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