Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I suppose it's time for a new post! In 2013, with the grant I received from OCD Twin Cities, I worked with the amazing, award-winning writer and creative writing professor Mary Logue. She helped me to finalize my novel, gave me focused, specific feedback about how the story was working, and also gifted me a beautiful title for my book: Holding on with Both Hands.

Mary encouraged me to begin querying literary agents after my final revisions were complete, which I have been doing. I'm encouraged by the fact that a few agents have shown interest in my novel, but this is a tough, slow process. My goal is to publish my book as a literary YA novel, so the fact that it happens to deal with an important topic--OCD and Exposure and Response Prevention therapy--takes a backseat to the story, which must be the primary focus of sharing the book.

I will continue my efforts to get my book published, while balancing family life! Hopefully, I will have news to share about an agent, a contract… I am also looking for creative ways to spread the word about my book (without giving it away, of course). Holding on with Both Hands is here, waiting for a home. Meanwhile, life is rewarding, fulfilling, a journey of discovery! All in good time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

     I am excited to share that I will be receiving a small grant from              OCD-Twin Cities (an affiliate of the National OCD Foundation) toward the development of my next novel, Holding on with Both Hands. I will use the funds toward a manuscript critique that will guide my revision process. 

     Here's a little about Holding on with Both Hands:

16-year-old Shelly would love to know how to quiet the voice in her head—the one telling her that the world will end unless she disinfects her hands with another wipe right now.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has consumed much of Shelly’s life since her parents’ divorce last year, but now that Ms. Winter has had an aneurism and won’t be teaching drama club—the one place where the OCD voice is silenced—the obsessions and compulsions are closing in fast.
Starting behind the wheel: terrifying; Revealing to her best friend, Mandy, that she’s making her OCD worse: devastating; Telling her mom that she needs to feel loved and she needs to see Dad: impossible. But if Shelly ever expects to gain back ground against OCD or have any hope of not being a social misfit, she’s going to have to listen to her therapist, Shannon, who’s ready to expose her to everything she fears the most.
One reason why this book is important to me is that it shows recovery from OCD through exposure therapy--a little known, but effective treatment. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a pervasive, misunderstood, and often difficult to treat neurological disorder and I hope that my book (and even discussing it in the pre-publication stages) will shed some light on the topic and bring hope to those suffering alone.

A THERAPIST'S TAKE ON HOLDING ON WITH BOTH HANDS        
Dr. Renae Reinardy, Psy.D., LP, a therapist specializing in the treatment of OCD using exposure therapy (a type of cognitive behavioral therapy), read a draft of my manuscript and had this to say:


This is a positive story that can be an inspiration to young people struggling with OCD. It takes an honest view of being a teen with OCD and demonstrates how Shelly got control over her nervous system in order to make important changes in her thoughts, attitudes, and actions. It is also helpful in seeing the impact OCD had on family members and friends.
You have a true talent for being able to bring the reader into the story with great descriptions which help to visualize Shelly's environment.
The story highlights the depth of being an adolescent with OCD who is also struggling with common teen issues. I especially liked how you tied in Shelly's relationship with her parents and how they had to learn to communicate about OCD...So much going on and very realistic.

With Dr. Reinardy's input on the realism of the story and the portrayal of OCD and its treatment, my next step is a literary critique for input with the effective use of story elements for a young adult novel. 
I look forward to continuing this process and bringing this story to life and eventually to a larger  audience. Thank you for your interest!



Friday, April 13, 2012

Kara, Lost has been named a finalist in the Midwest Book Awards for the Literary Fiction category!  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

BLOOMINGTON WRITER'S FESTIVAL
This Saturday, I will have a table at the Bloomington Writer's Festival.  Once again, I will donate $2. from each sale of Kara, Lost to Lincoln Place.  I am honored to support them in my own small way!  My editor friend, Traci Post, will be at my table in the morning and I will be there in the afternoon.

Coming up on March 31, I will be signing my book at the Spotlight on Books conference in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  After recently reading The Wednesday Wars, I'm very excited to meet featured author Gary Schmidt.  I hope I get to ask him about how he developed the voice of Holling Hoodhood.  That book is a great read!

The last weekend in April I will be attending the Children's and Young Adult Literature Conference at The Loft.  The young adult workshops look fantastic and I expect to come away with some valuable information!

It's an exciting time!  More news soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dakota County Local Author Fair and Other News

I'm so excited to share that I will be supporting Lincoln Place at the first annual Dakota County Local Author Fair on Saturday, January 21 from 1-4pm. Lincoln Place provides supportive housing for young adults who are aging out of foster care, are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. I will donate $2. from each sale of Kara, Lost at the event as well as giving out information about Lincoln Place at my table.

Today, an article in the Star and Tribune featured Janet Graber and I. We are both Dakota County authors who will be at the event. The article includes a picture of me at Intermedia Arts, facilitating the Young Writers Group there. We are currently seeking new participants for this fun, drop-in group. Christy Hicks is also a facilitator for the group.


In other news, I have been making good progress with my second book, Chelly's Exposure. 15-year-old Chelly is dealing with her parents' divorce, the loss of a teacher, OCD, behind the wheel practice, and a really cute guy named Cal. It is so great to be working on this project.

In February, I will be speaking to a group of students at South High School in Minneapolis and be featured on Book Snob Blog


It is really exciting to become more involved with writing and community projects. I have so many things that I want to accomplish and I am focusing on taking one step at a time. But I look forward to what's in store.

Thank you for keeping up and please let me know what's on your mind: susannizfiction@gmail.com


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My web site is currently being created. Coming soon!