literary insults

November 09, 2009 | 4 Comments

Writers can be so deliciously snarky:

“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”  – Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” Clarence Darrow

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..” –  Oscar Wilde

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…. if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in response.

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in  others.” – Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on  it?” – Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” –  Mae West “Some  cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” –  Groucho Marx

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”

“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:

She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”

He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

the gratitude project

November 05, 2009 | 2 Comments

By popular demand, I’m bringing back my most-requested blog project. Last November, we had so much fun right here on my blog listing things we’re grateful for that I’ve created a special web site for it.

Please join me again this year in the gratitude project. Expressing gratitude for things large and small is incredibly good for you. There’s probably a psychological study proving it, but you don’t need a study. If you do this simple exercise once a day, you’ll know it works, because you’ll feel better.

Every day from now until Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting things I’m grateful for at Some will be silly, some profound, but all will be honest and from the heart. I invite you to join me in this exercise. I’d love it if you’d post your list there too, because readers and writers never fail to inspire me. But you don’t have to. Keep your list private if you wish. The important thing is to specify something you’re grateful for, and write it down.  Or put it on your blog or share with a friend. Feel free to pass the suggestion along. I”d be eternally grateful.

Instructions: Posting is ridiculously simple. All you need to do is send your gratitude in an e-mail to You can write a line or two or three, whatever you like. You can also attach a picture or video. Then come to and see everyone’s posts. Put that e-mail addy in your address book. Please chime in! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Note: Posts appear without attribution (it will just say “posted by e-mail”). If you want the post attributed to you, simply sign it with your first name and last initial, maybe your location. Like this: Susan W., Washington state

now it REALLY ’tis the season

November 04, 2009 | 37 Comments

I don't eat them, either, but aren't they cute?

Confession: It felt a little odd, having a Christmas book out before Halloween. I just couldn’t drum up that cozy, romantic mood that makes Christmas so special. The good news is, I ate the last of my Halloween candy for breakfast and NOW I’m ready to rock Christmas.

Here is a preview of Lakeshore Christmas. It’s worth opening the link because it gives you a few of the amazing recipes at the end. Remember my motto for this book: Bake some cookies. Save the library. Save the world.

You know, I’m so ready for Christmas now, I’m going to send somebody a signed book. You know the drill–write a Comment on this blog entry and you’re entered. In your comment, let us know the moment when you FINALLY feel the holiday season is here.

Winner will be picked via on Sunday after I get home from the Fire in Fiction workshop. Which btw you should be coming to.



November 03, 2009 | 1 Comment

Today. Just do it.

Three Flags by Jasper Johns.

Shout out to Joan for the reminder.

don’t dream it…be it

November 01, 2009 | 3 Comments

It’s not just my favorite line from Rocky Horror. It’s my best advice to writers. Here’s a chance to do exactly that–THIS WEEK. Do NOT miss this seminar! Info below:

In this issue:

  • for writers – a workshop that will change your life
  • for readers – cookies and a day at the spa
  • for Canadians or people who want to go there – a day-long writing seminar

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for taking Lakeshore Christmas into your heart, and for making it a bestseller. Your notes to me are so lovely. I wish I could express how much the mean to me! Just…thank you! Readers are like best friends you’ve never met.

That said…I would love to meet you! I have three major book events coming up this month, for writers and readers. PLEASE mark your calendar. It would be an honor to meet you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009 – Bellevue, WA

NOTE: This day is part of a multi-day writing extravaganza with master teacher and literary agent, Donald Maass. The full course is Nov. 5-8, but you can also take a partial class. Full info here.

If you’re a fiction writer, you have to promise you will take this class. No matter where you are in your writing career–from beginner to bestseller–you owe it to yourself to explore “The Fire in Fiction” with Don.

The first time I took a class from him, I was writing The Ocean Between Us, a reader favorite. There are many scenes and moments in that book that I created as a direct result of the class. Here is a blog post I wrote about Donald Maass and his work. Sign up! Do it! Do it now!

Here’s a description of my portion of the class:

ROMANCE MASTER CLASS with literary agent and author Don Maass and bestselling author, Susan Wiggs

In this full day course, Don Maass and Susan Wiggs will teach you how to first foster a deep understanding of the romance genre, and then go beyond the expected to create a truly original breakout work.

You’ll learn how to merge elements of literary and genre fiction, how to assure reader investment in the credibility of your world and characters, how to create a palpable voice on the page, how to create a resonant theme, and much more.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 – Bainbridge Island WA

7:30pm Reading and Cookie Exchange with author Sheila Roberts:

Got cookies? You will after this fabulous holiday events featuring Christmas books, cookies and general merriment. Bring a plate of your best cookies, and you’ll be entered to win a day of luscious pampering at a local spa!


Saturday, November 21, 2009 – Vancouver, BC, Canada

Workshop for Greater Vancouver RWA: This is a full-day event, all about bringing your characters to life and creating a book map for your novel. You won’t believe how much fun this is. Trust me, after 40-whatever novels, I know what works.

So there you have it. MARK YOUR CALENDAR. Come see me!

Happy Holidays,

Susan Wiggs

Cookie Tiiiiime!

Lakeshore Christmas features a collection of cookie recipes from favorite fictional characters. Remember chewy molasses cookies? This is the one. I first discovered it thanks to my friend Cheryl, who got it from the Silver Palate Cookbook. I tweaked it here and there to make it unique for the book–that pinch of cayenne is the secret:

Daisy Bellamy’s “May the Best Man Win” Molasses Cookies


(24 cookies)


3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

1-3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon baking soda



1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment.

3. Melt the butter; mix well with sugar and molasses.

4. Beat in the egg, then slowly add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well to create a wet dough.

5. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment.

6. Drop the batter by scant teaspoons onto the parchment. Leave plenty of space, because cookies will spread.

7. Bake 8-10 minutes, just until the cookies darken.

8. Remove parchment from cookie sheet, and let cool. These cookies are delicious as is, or you can dress them up with a drizzle of lemon icing.

Song suggestion: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” performed by Nickel Creek