All posts by Connie Suttle

The Survey says…

A friend posted a Questionnaire on Facebook. I never copy and paste anything on FB. Therefore, I copied and pasted to my blog, instead. Here are the questions and answers for this one (Thanks, Sonja)

Q: How old are you?

65, and trust me, the only perk I really enjoy is getting a discount at the movies. Early-bird specials? Uh, no thanks.

Q: Surgeries?

Four. One to fix the knee I broke when I was ten (still have a huge scar) and the other three to fix the plumbing.

Q: Tattoos?

Zero. Nada. Nobody approaches me with a needle unless it’s for a legitimate, medical purpose. (btw, when I went to see the doctor for my plantar fasciitis yesterday, he surprised me with a pneumonia shot)

Q: Ever hit a deer?

No. Almost hit a skunk once. Glad I missed out on that experience.

Q: Rode in an ambulance?

Yes. Let me just say we totaled the car and all of us limped away from it.

Q: Ice skated?

I’ve only roller skated and was a danger to everyone when I did it, including myself. Broke an elbow that the ER Doctor said was only a sprain. Three months later, when it was still bothering me and had healed back wrong, I found out how erroneous that diagnosis was.

Q: Rode a motorcycle?

Yes, but only as a passenger.

Q: Stayed in hospital?

Yep, several times. Last time I had double pneumonia. Have no urge to do THAT again.

Q: Last phone call?

Husband—after 46 years of marriage, we STILL talk to each other. (we won’t discuss his hearing issues, however)

Q: Last text from?

Joe Scholes, about my plantar fasciitis. He’d never heard of it. (Lucky him)

Q: Watched someone actually die?

Not yet.

Q: Pepsi or Coke?

Neither. I hardly ever have a soft drink. Coffee is my caffeine of choice, with iced tea a close second. Frankly, anybody who stands between me and coffee in the morning may cause me to change my answer on the previous question.

Q: Favorite Pie?

Pumpkin, with chocolate close behind. Oh—and I need whipped cream with both, thanks.

Q: Favorite season?

Any season that doesn’t affect my allergies. Usually, all of them affect my allergies. The proper question should have been what is your LEAST favorite season?

Q: Broken bones?

Knee, elbow, toe. Knee was the only one properly repaired. Still can’t fully extend my right arm because of the elbow (ball joint) break. Toe? It just gets huffy if I discuss that incident.

Q: Received a Ticket?

Yes. (Hangs head in shame)

Q: Favorite color for clothes?

Black, but denim is also a favorite, which means I can disappear in almost any crowd.

Sunrise or sunset?

I’m usually more awake at sunset. I’m sure most sunrises are spectacular, too, but drinking coffee while bleary-eyed doesn’t do it justice.

Q: Ocean or mountain?

Ocean, hands down. The sound of the waves is a natural anti-anxiety medication.

Connie out–


Bearcat loved chicken (in any form) and bacon. That meant anytime we had chicken for dinner (or bacon in anything) he would sit next to my chair, waiting for any bits of bacon or chicken to come his way—accidentally or on purpose.

Your hair could be standing on end at this point (why would you give a cat people food?)

Well, he was twenty-two years old, and after he reached eighteen four years ago, I figured he could have anything he wanted.

When he was younger, he’d find a way to get to the highest point in any room and freak us out at times by jumping from a tall bookshelf onto our bed at night.

Oftentimes, too, we were allowed to pet him only a certain number of times before he was “done with petting,” and voiced (or bit) his opinion.

In other words, he was a C-A-T.

We loved him.

Last Saturday, after a short illness, he passed, and now there is a big, Bearcat-sized hole in our lives.

And, when your fur kid spends that much time with family, then he IS family, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says. You go the distance for them, just like you would any other well-loved family member.

And so, we grieve.

Unfortunately, that has also put a big hitch in my writing progress, and what that means is that Blood Alliance will be a month late getting out. The revised date for release is now October 25th. I hope you understand—I just need a little time.

Time to stop seeing him in the corner of my vision.

Time to stop thinking that I need to feed him, or give him a special treat.

Time to stop expecting him to announce every morning that it’s breakfast time and I should get on that right away.


Time to stop missing him so much.

Thank you for your patience at this time. It is greatly appreciated.



Flappy Bird, (or how I’ve discovered that every app and add-in hates one-drive)

Are you familiar with the game, Flappy Bird? I don’t think you can get it anymore. I happened to download that piece of frustration before the creator decided that he was done with the whole thing and withdrew it from the app store.

Therefore, I still have it on my iPad.

The thing about Flappy Bird and me? That poor, hapless bird has never gotten past the third obstacle before he takes a nosedive and dies.

Right there in front of my face.

None of this “well, you gave it a good run,” crap. No racked-up points. No badges won. Nope. Just dies. I can’t keep him in the air and send him through those little gaps between pipes or other obstacles, which in turn would extend his poor little digital bird life.

Nope (emphasis on the “P”).

And, as a person who loves birds in real life (please note that you’ll see an inordinate number of chickens I’ve posted on Facebook, in addition to cats) it breaks my heart to kill even a digital bird.

Which brings me to my own, real life version of Flappy Bird.

It happened yesterday.

I transferred the manuscript for the latest book to my Mac Book Pro, so I could format it in the little piece of heaven others call Vellum.

Vellum is awesome and worth every cent. The only drawback is that it will only work on a mac. Therefore, I have to send the manuscript to my Mac Book.


There’s this thing (status, condition, whatever) where, if you download what the Mac perceives as a corrupt file, it shows up but is grayed out, whereas all the other files are in color and waving at you, saying “Hi, I’m available!”

Not this one.

I went fifty rounds with this thing. Downloaded it several times. Saved it as different things.

No bueno.

I freaked.

More. Than. Once.

I went back to the pc (where the original file was) after three hours of working with the Mac, to format it in a less pretty, barely utilitarian version of a book that should have been quite lovely and matching the first book released in the series.

Once it was uploaded, I turned back to working out the problem. Spent another hour on it.


I finally looked (really looked) at the way it was saved (and where) at the beginning.


I re-saved the entire file as a word document. Yep, just plain old word. Then transferred it to the Mac.

Guess what?

No gray.

Loaded into Vellum like a dream. Was formatted in less than ten minutes, with all the pretty bells and whistles added in.


The less than pretty version was already grinding through Amazon’s gears, and you can’t get back in to do an update until that version is published and they turn on the options to make changes again.

Le sigh.

This morning, I got up, and the first thing I did upon finding the changes button active, was upload the nicer version. It’ll take time to get the update through the system, but eventually it should be available.

Le sigh.


Sorry about that. I was in my own, personal, Flappy Bird Hell yesterday. Sorry that you may have downloaded a suckier version of the book than I wanted you to have.

I need a drink and a do-over.

Connie out.

P.S. It looks like Flappy Bird can still be had–download at your own peril 🙂

P.P.S. The nicer version is now available. Yay!

Upcoming Changes

About three years ago, I made the decision to publish exclusively with Amazon to make use of their new (at the time) Kindle Unlimited program. Part of the agreement with Amazon when enrolling books in the KU program is that they have exclusive access to the books while they are enrolled. That required that I remove my books from the Barnes and Noble publishing outlet, Nook. As I recall, some fans were disappointed with this decision.

Good news! I have decided to again make my books available in other formats from other outlets; B&N, iBooks, Kobo, etc. However, this will require removing them from the KU program.

While this may disappoint some KU readers, please take heart. I haven’t forgotten you. When new titles are released, they will be enrolled in the KU program for a period of ninety days—the minimum amount of time books must remain in the program. That will give those of you who use the KU program plenty of time to read the new books as they are released.

Once the KU enrollment period expires, new titles will be made available in other formats across other platforms.

Some of my books have already dropped out of KU, as of the end of 2016. Others will drop out over the next two-and-a-half months, depending on when their most recent ninety-day enrollment period is over.

For the older books that have and will drop out of KU, those titles going forward will also be offered for sale on other sites—, kobo, iBooks, etc., because the readers using those platforms haven’t been able to buy my e-books for roughly three years.

Something else I did, too, is lower the prices on many of the older titles, to make them more affordable.

I am excited to be able to offer my books through multiple platforms. I’ll announce their availability over the next several months as I proceed.

Connie out.

Three Work Looks Everybody Needs

I get ads in my e-mail. Attempting to elude them is like dodging the wind when you walk outside—it ain’t gonna happen.

Every now and then, I’ll get ads from clothing companies, insisting that they have the “perfect work look” for me. When I check them out, I see “power dresses, power suits” or something that can go from work to nightclub, with photographs of models wearing said outfits. Models who have likely never worked an office job for years uncounted. Yeah, they’re all young and gorgeous, making me think “Wow, if I buy those clothes, I can look exactly like that!”



I have three styles of work outfits.

  1. Pajamas*
  2. t-shirt/sweat pants* (cold weather)
  3. t-shirt/crop pants* (warm weather)

*Some or all of those things may have coffee stains. Some or all of them may be several years old, with no retirement in sight. Some or all of those things include socks, because cold feet.

Yes, I’ve had jobs in the past that had some sort of dress code: office worker, college professor, retail manager, etc.

Sure, I was younger and better looking then.

None of those jobs made me even half as happy as my current job—where I dress however I want, slurp coffee whenever I want, and write whatever I want.

Nowadays, I spend more money on printer ink than on gas for my car—mostly because I only leave the house once a week. Maybe less.

I’m not saying this is for everybody. I’m not saying I don’t sweat the work or the deadlines, because I do. Some days, the words flow like water. Other days it’s a real battle to put even the smallest words on the page.

Why am I writing all this—and asking you to read it?

Because November is right around the corner.

Yep—November is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

If you’ve ever had the dream—or the idea—of writing a book, then November is the month to do it. Why not get a head start and make an outline, now?

I know what you’ve heard before—nobody’s perfect on the first try.

Well, that’s true.

It doesn’t mean you can’t make it perfect—or as perfect as you possibly can. What I’m saying is this; November is for writing the book. The next few months are for cleaning it up, making revisions, editing and then doing all that again.

If you don’t believe me, ask Joe—my assistant.

He wrote his first draft in no time. Then, he went through many, many subsequent drafts, revisions and edits, just to get that first effort whipped into shape—good enough to publish. What he did is what every author does—he put the work into it.

Make the writing worthy of the story, in other words. The trick is to keep working at it and not quit. Most aspiring writers fail because they never finish the first draft. Think about that for a minute. November is the time to finish a first draft.

This November, don’t forget to vote—and write.

Also, remember that MindSighted, BlackWing Pirates Book One is now available on To read more about it, including a preview, visit my website,

I’m now working on The Rose Mark, Black Rose Sorceress Book One. This is exciting, because it is the first in a new series that has no connection to anything that has come before.

Connie out.


Wouldn’t it be great if you could get filters at Lowe’s or Home Depot?

Not filters for your air ducts or air purifiers or any number of household devices and such.

No—I’m looking for filters for hate.

You know—the hate that ferments inside some people, and because that hate isn’t filtered, it spews out of them like germs from a severe cough—or like bullets in a night club.

Either way, it infects or affects everyone around them.
We all saw what happened early yesterday. A not-so-reasonable person, infected with the cancer of hate, did a terrible, terrible thing in Florida.

Even his ex-wife and a former co-worker have said that the perpetrator was sick and filled with hate. He’d been investigated—twice—by the Authorities, because of his hate.

Today, friends and families of fifty people are in mourning. Others are struggling to survive and recover, their families and friends praying for that survival and recovery.

Because there was no filter.

No barrier between them and hatred with a gun.


“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.”

–Ernest Hemingway




(National Novel Writing Month)

(in case you didn’t know)

Every November, if you are anywhere near social media, you may be seeing tons of stuff about Na-No-Wri-Mo.

It can be a very good thing for those folks who’ve been thinking about writing, but just haven’t found the time/motivation to actually sit down and do it. There are writing groups everywhere for you to join and libraries are offering space for you to come in, sit down and write with your fellow Na-Mo-ers.

I even got an invite from a library near and dear to my heart to come in, write and offer advice to others who are just starting out. I might have done it, too, if I hadn’t been out of town half the month.

In fact, I know several people who’ve started a book (or three) who just can’t keep moving on said book (or three). Na-No-Wri-Mo is perfect for them.

The thing is, one of the questions I get asked the most is how do I do it?

The answer is a simple one, and one that ultimately disappoints everybody when I say it. Maybe they’re looking for the magic answer, when I don’t have any magic answers. My answer to this question invariably remains the same:


I see their hopes fall, crashing onto that heap of other dead hopes that live in their soul. Surely I’m hiding something—some trick, some useful piece of advice, or even a magic wand!

I have two wands, actually; I bought one at the Harry Potter thing in Orlando—I have Sirius Black’s wand. Sadly, it only ever worked for him.

The other wand was made for me by someone talented in that area, and while it may be useful in turning mice and pumpkins into horses and carriages, it does nothing for me in the realm of writing. How do I know that?

told me so

Just kidding.

It sits on my shelf and does nothing at all.

Back to writing:  I don’t officially engage in Na-No-Wri-Mo. The reason?

I actually DO the same thing five or so times a year. I get up. I feed cats. I make coffee. I sit down at computer.

I write.

No, I don’t think everybody can do that. I don’t expect everybody to do that. Most people (they’ll tell you so themselves) have jobs. There’s this habit we all have—of eating, sleeping and getting from one place to the other, and jobs are the way to get those things. I can’t tell you how fortunate I am that writing IS my job, now, because it wasn’t always that way. For years upon years, I put my time in for someone else, doing the best job I could.

None of those jobs were as satisfying as the one I have now.

The thing is, sometimes writing is a breeze. It’s like sailing a boat with a really good wind blowing. You fly across the water.

At other times, it’s like trying to paddle a huge log upstream, using a tree branch.

And—getting a story going, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction—that may be the hardest part of all. If anybody has ever had to prime a pump to make it produce water, then you know what I’m talking about.

A story is sort of the same thing. You pour words in and pump (write) and pump (write). It takes freaking forever to get anything out of it.

Until something comes.


Words are pouring out like gangbusters (or water).

Be careful, though. When you stop, remember to start again as soon as you can.

Otherwise, you’ll be back at stage one, and you remember how hard that was the last time, don’t you? You’re priming the pump again. Therefore, write as much and as often as you can, so the hard work can be behind you.

The secret ingredient, I think, is in the not giving up.


I guess this post is really about NOT GIVING UP, or,


Keep writing. One word leads to another word.

One paragraph leads to another paragraph.

One page leads to another.

One book leads to a sequel.

Writing may become as important to you as eating or breathing.


Your eyes may glaze over in movie theaters or during dull conversations.

Because Book.

Your story may insert itself into dinners with friends. Walks with you dog. Laughs with your co-workers. Arguments with your boss.

Because Book.

All that, of course, will teach you one very important lesson:


You can use those dinners with friends, walks with your dog, laughs with co-workers or disagreements with your boss as fodder (or fill) for your books. Only the names, locations and fine details should be changed to protect YOU fromthem

Just kidding.


Happy November, everybody. If there’s a book or a story, short or otherwise, in you, now’s the time to set it free.


Excuse me, advertiser, but you can’t read my mind.

I get ads in my e-mail all the time. Today, I got one with this headline:

“What you’ve been waiting for!”

They have a hovercar! I grinned and did a happy sort of wiggle in my office chair as I opened the e-mail.


Sadly, I was disappointed. Not only was there no hovercar, they wanted to sell me scented soaps, which, also sadly, I am allergic to. After eating half a bag of peanut M&Ms to soothe my disappointment, I went back to writing.

Except I still can’t get over the whole no hovercar thing, because I really, really want a hovercar before I die.

Before you get all gaspy and pull away from your computer in horror, no, I’m not expecting doom to arrive at my door at any moment, although with my luck, I’ll walk outside and have a flying cow land on me.

My obituary—killed by flying cow.

That unlikely event made me think of a conversation I had with a friend the other night at dinner. She’s a teacher and she reads my books because she loves fiction. Her college-age daughter reads non-fiction, and some of her recent favorites have been books on constitutional law and the firefighter’s test. She loves the realest of real things, and really, you can’t get any realer than that.

She reads constitutional law for pleasure.

I swear I am not making this up.

When my friend suggested my books to her daughter, her daughter said she couldn’t read them because, “Connie changes everything.”

Wow. That may be the best compliment I have ever, ever gotten. All my hopes and dreams summed up in three words—Connie changes everything. I need that written on a plaque to hang on my wall:

Connie changes everything.

As if I could, like in my dreams, reach out a hand and make everything the way it should be. That no child would be hungry, homeless or denied an education.

That for once, the entire planet might speak with a single voice to make sure all its citizens not only mattered, but deserved protection and equal rights.


Connie changes everything.

I want that to be my super power, although I hear capes are passé.

Connie out.


Birdseed and Litterboxes

I have three cats. Anybody who’s read (okay, I had to stop for a moment, my husband is listening to bagpipe-kilt-rap-music on his iPad. All right—done, now.)

Anyway, as I was saying, anyone who’s read the author information in most of my books knows I have three cats. We’ve been cleaning litterboxes the traditional way for YEARS. I never bought an automatic, self-cleaning, blessing-from-heaven litter box because I was afraid that:

  1. The cats wouldn’t use it.
  2. The cats would dismantle it.
  3. It wouldn’t work.

A few days ago, however, I was talking to my sister on the phone. She said that she’d bought a multi-cat self-cleaning litterbox for a friend who also has three cats, and it works like a dream.

Well, how could I ignore such a ringing endorsement? I immediately went online and ordered one from Amazon.

It arrived. My husband and I put it together, put litter and batteries in it, plugged it in and—NOTHING.

We tried again, thinking we’d missed something.

We hadn’t.


We went through the entire trouble shooting guide in the booklet.


By that time, I wanted to weep. I never wanted anything to work so badly in my life.

But wait, you say. The title says birdseed. What about that? Oh—and the ending to the litterbox story, too.


When they shipped the litterbox to me, the pet supply company fulfilling the order also sent a big bag of birdseed (alliteration, much?) to someone else.

At least they thought they did.

Somehow, they placed a duplicate label on the birdseed box, with my name on it. Therefore, instead of going to some nice person in California, whose mission it is to feed birds with no waste birdseed, it came to me instead.

That was before the defective litterbox arrived.

I called the pet supply company, hoping I wouldn’t have to call a delivery service to pick up the birdseed and send it back to said company. They were very nice and said “Keep it or throw it away, and thanks for letting us know.”

Yeah, I thought it was over with that.

How wrong I was.

The litterbox arrives two days later, and as explained previously, it didn’t work, no matter how hard we tried (or begged it to).

I had to call the company again.


That’s why I ended up having to cart the non-working litterbox to a physical store twenty-plus miles away and exchange it for another litter box, while paying nearly thirty dollars more for it because of the price difference between the online and store prices.

*Yay, me.*

Anyway, we got the new box home. We opened it. Inside was something I didn’t expect—the online order form for another person, who’d done what we did—returned their litter box to the store.

At that point, I was almost too afraid to unpack the thing and try it.

We did it anyway. After all, we were already familiar enough with the directions that we could recite them on demand.

I cannot tell you how happy we were when we plugged it in and on cue, the scooping mechanism went through its obligatory first pass, combing through the litter and disposing of an imaginary clump.

There were tears of joy and high-fives after that.

The point of this story?

There isn’t one, except to say this:

Ms. XX, we have your birdseed.

Mr. XY, we have your litterbox.

Thank you.

Now, should I buy a bird feeder?

Connie out.