Monday, August 22, 2011

Friends and Fate and a Little Black Dress

By Susan McBride

I can hardly believe Little Black Dress is out today (hooray!!!). I poured my heart and soul into this tale of two sisters, one daughter, and a magical black dress that changes all their lives forever, so I can't wait to hear what y'all think! It’s been a full year and a half since The Cougar Club was released. Long as that sounds, those months went by in a blink. So much happened in the interim, as you’ve heard me babble about before (cat nearly died, Mom diagnosed with breast cancer, pregnancy, miscarriage, skin cancer, you name it), that I can’t imagine having had any less time. I remember panicking last fall when my publisher wanted to push LBD out three months sooner with a pale pink cover that featured a headless woman in a very puffy black cocktail dress (ack!). Since the novel has nothing to do with puffy frocks and cocktail parties—and everything to do with love and fate and magic—I was less than thrilled. I also wasn’t sure I could get everything done (um, like, finish the book and do revisions) so quickly.

Thank goodness the pub date was pushed back and the cover was revamped. Strange how things work out sometimes. My mantra this year has been “I can only do what I can do;” and it seems like, the more I take a deep breath and let the things go that I can’t control, the more things turn out right. As I told my editor the other day, I have never been so happy with a book, inside and out. I even emailed Mumtaz Mustafa, the art director who designed Little Black Dress’s cover, sending him a love note saying how much I adored it. It was so important that a particular black dress not be depicted—part of the magic of Little Black Dress is having readers imagine for themselves what this special frock looks like—and Mumtaz got it just right.

My gratitude only grew along the road to LBD’s publication. One stop was Blurb Land, a destination that always makes me anxious (for which I'm always thankful that my agents and editor help out!). Still, I knew some of the authors on my wish list--fellow Girlfriends, as a matter of fact!—and so I gathered my courage, shot off emails (that I rewrote a dozen times), and hoped for the best. Turns out, I needn’t have worried myself silly. I was bowled over by the generosity of these wonderful women. Even if I said “thank you” a million times, it wouldn’t be enough. But I’ll say it again, “Thank you, ladies!" You are something special.

There were always friends along the way, giving me pep talks when I needed them and offering a hand. One crazy-busy pal made time in her schedule to plow through fifty pages at a time as I forged my way through revisions. She reassured me that I was on the right track and nudged me when I left a question unanswered. I normally don’t let anyone see revisions until I’m done, but I’m awfully glad I did this time around. So thanks to that good buddy as well!

When I had to turn my attention toward another manuscript this spring and summer, the marketing and publicity wizards were already at work, keeping in frequent touch, letting me know what was going on with LBD and what was to come, so that I feel downright calm (I know! It’s a strange sensation!). I'm more organized than in the past and less apt to expend energy on things that don’t need doing. What a nice change!

Perhaps there’s actually something to this whole “I can only do what I can do” idea. I’m going to hold onto that thought as Little Black Dress launches and try not to get stomach aches over what's going on and whether or not readers are enjoying it. I've got another manuscript to pen and some in-town and out-of-town gigs to do, which should keep me good and busy. And I'll remind myself to breathe and smile and be grateful for all the positive stuff. Like Bridget says in Little Black Dress, “Sometimes you just have to accept the magic that comes into your life and leave it be.” Amen to that, sister.

P.S. The pearl necklace giveaway continues through 5 p.m. Eastern Time today on http://www.facebook.com/SusanMcBrideBooks so don’t miss out! One grand prize winner receives a gorgeous strand of freshwater cultured pearls like the one on the cover of Little Black Dress. Five runners-up receive copies of the book. For more info and links to booksellers, please visit http://SusanMcBride.com.

23 comments:

  1. YAY, Susan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Congrats on your release day for LBD -- we can finally celebrate that your wonderful novel is now out in stores and available for everyone to enjoy. So thrilled for you ;).

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  2. I can't wait for Amazon to ship my copies! Congratulations, Susan, I know this book is going to be a big success!

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  3. Congrats. Looking forward to this read. I'm so glad the first cover didn't make it. I LOVE this cover.

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  4. So happy for you! Enjoy your release day!

    I love your "I can only do what I can do" philosophy--must try and adopt that...in so many areas!

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  5. Thanks so much, Marilyn, Maria, Christa, and Sara! (I'm giving you guys virtual bear hugs right now--do you feel like the breath just got smooshed out of you?) I wish I could pass out party hats and horns...and dark chocolate cake (yum!). I feel energized and excited today (which will probably mean I need a nap by noon!). Here's hoping I don't teeter off my high heels on "Great Day St. Louis" this morning! Squeeeeee!

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  6. Hooray! So happy LBD is out in the world and spreading its magic . . . love love love this book!

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  7. Thank you, Judy!!! Just so you know, LBD loves you right back! :-)

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  8. Happy pub day! Off to spread the word about your wonderful book!

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  9. Thank you buckets, Ms. Karin!!! And LBD thanks you so much for your beautiful blurb, too!!! :-)

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  10. Happy publication day! I'll be reading Little Black Dress soon and I'm really looking forward to it.

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  11. Congratulations!! I know how thrilled you are today, a well-earned bravo, my friend!! LITTLE BLACK DRESS will be the must-have item for every woman out there!!

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  12. Congratulations, Susan!! Happy pub day--enjoy!!!

    I love the cover, too--and isn't it great to be in the company of so many talented, generous writers of women's fiction? :)

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  13. Congrats, Mazel Tov, Happy Pub Day! I luv the cover too! can't wait to read it!

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  14. Happy Pub Day, Susan! Please pass the dark chocolate cyber-cake!

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  15. I'm back from "Great Day" and from a yummy lunch with Ed, my mom and dad, and my uncle Bill and aunt Pat (down from Des Moines!). Thanks for all your good wishes, you guys! You are awesome, I must say! It's been a really fun pub day so far, with just a few glitches (like, people who say their stores didn't have LBD in stock yet--at least, I hope it's "yet!"). But that won't stop me from smiling and passing around the dark chocolate cyber cake (Cindy, do you want this nice big piece with extra frosting?). ;-) And, Jess, yes, it's amazing to be here with such a talented group (not to mention everyone who comes to visit!). Being on the GBC has made LBD's debut extra special, that's for sure.

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  16. Happy Pub Day, Susan! It is always so very exciting when a new book enters the world. I wish you millions of sales!!

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  17. So honored that I got the chance to read and blurb an advance copy of this magnificent book, Susan! Here's hoping readers quickly discover this gem and that it flies off the racks ... er, shelves!
    xoEllen

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  18. Congrats Susan--what a gorgeous cover! Can't wait to read it!!! xoxox Lucy

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  19. Thanks so much, Maggie and Lucy! :-)

    And, Ellen, I'm beyond thrilled that you took the time to read and blurb LBD in advance. I feel very fortunate, no matter what happens from here on out! (Although if LBD flew off the shelves, I wouldn't mind a bit. ;->)

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  20. Congrats on your release! I love the cover and this book is going on the top of my TBR list!

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  21. Lucie, thanks so much! And yay! :-)

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