Friday, May 25, 2012


Okay, I'm not sure anyone truly follows me, but because I can view the number of page views I have accumulated on this blog since I first established it, it is obvious that people are checking this site out and I can see that all those folks are in the United States!  No more page views from India; not that I'm complaining about any page viewers much less where they are located. Bring on Europe, South Africa, and the Caribbean.

Back to the point of this post.  On Tuesday of this week I had a publisher write and tell me that I was in the final stages of being reviewed by their editorial staff and could I please fill out an author questionnaire and a 
book brief for them so they could make a final decision on my book's potential publication.  I have to be  honest.  At first, I was like, could they be a vanity publisher because I truly want to be legitimately published.  I researched the publisher and checked with a few folks.  No definitive answer.  So I then emailed a literary agent who has a partial of my manuscript and asked her.  She says they are small, but legit.  And by the way, she requested a book proposal.  Hallelujah!  So I spent two days and sixteen hours drafting the answers to the author questionnaire and book brief.  My former English students are laughing hysterically at this point and thinking finally, someone dishes it out to Mrs. S!!!  Calm down kiddies, I finished the work and it is quality work because I have never accepted anything less of myself or my students.

Here's the interesting part people.  The publisher would like endorsement blurbs from established authors and I am thinking, well, I'm a debut author, who in the world do I know that is established??!  After taking half a valium and breathing deeply for two seconds I think, well, I will just email and make the request from some of my preferred authors.  What's the worst that could happen right?  Oh Lord Help Deliver Me.  My first author choice responded that she was busy and no she could not at this time read a sample copy of my book and make an endorsement.  Okay, she has a book tour coming up so that is entirely possible.  I get my nerve up and send an email request to my second choice for an author endorsement..  This author is so major that I figured she would not repond, an assistant would respond, or she would tell me she did not have time either.  Well, folks, her reponse was that she does not endorse anyone whose work is published by a self-publisher/vanity press and obviously, my memoir was fiction.  Say WHAT?!!  First, I never told her who the publisher is and second, she has NEVER seen my memoir manuscript.  I've got four immediate family members who will sign their names in blood that this manuscript is true from first word till THE END darlin'!!  AND HELLO?! WHAT THE HELL EVER HAPPENED TO SUPPORTING YOUR FELLOW LITERARY GIRLFRIEND WHO IS JUST STARTING OUT?!  Needless to say, I was shocked and saddened, but not for me, for her.  I did not send a response because I'm Grace Sutherlin and I would never knock someone like that no matter what fame or wealth I do or do not achieve.  I'M STAYIN' THE COURSE MATES AND WILL KEEP ON SAILIN'!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

For the first half of May when I was not attempting to help my husband locate office space for his new business and buy office furniture, I decided to read Jodi Picoult's newest paperback entitled Sing You Home.  You can never go wrong with a Jodi Picoult book.  She likes to tackle issues that are relevant and in the headlines.  This book is no exception to that policy as it follows Zoe, a music therapist, who is attempting to conceive via IVF.  She has had four unsuccessful attempts with IVF and the last round left her with a baby that was born stillborn.  Coupled with the devastation of the stillborn, her husband Max decides to check out of the marriage because he does not want to have any more attempts at IVF.  Max goes to live with his evangelical, attorney older brother who is constantly bailing him out or assisting him.  Max has a whole lot of issues:  he likes too much alcohol, to go surfing when he is supposed to be picking up a minister from the airport, and even more deadly, he attempts to drive himself places after drinking.  He files for divorce from Zoe and they each represent themselves in court.  Both never once think about the fertilized eggs still frozen at the fertility clinic during the divorce.  Herein lies the debate of whether you think about frozen eggs as property or people.  In this particular instance, I think Max and Zoe were so devastated from the divorce they just did not think to mention the frozen eggs when the judge asked them about debts and property distribution.  A divorce is granted. And then Max has a horrifc accident whereby he winds up fighting for his life in a hospital and has a conversion to the evangelical religion his brother espouses. 

Meanwhile, Zoe meets a school counselor named Vanessa.  They develop a relationship and eventually get married.  Max is shell-shocked upon learning the news that his ex-wife is a lesbian after encountering her at a grocery store one Saturday whereby she hurriedly informs him of her new relationship status in the grocery store parking lot.  Max is torn about the whole concept of being gay because the evangelical church he now attends is so adamantly against it.  Zoe begins helping a suicidal student at Vanessa's school who refuses to engage with life or anyone in it.  Zoe helps the student find a new reason for living via music therapy and the student's interest in the guitar.  Zoe and Vanessa decide to take a chance on utilizing the frozen eggs at the fertility clinic so Vanessa can have a child due to Zoe's life being at risk should she attempt anymore rounds of IVF.  They get to the fertility clinic only to discover that nothing can happen with the frozen fertilized eggs until Max gives his consent.  This leads to a nasty court battle whereby Max's evangelical church provides him with a top lawyer who argues that Max wishes for the frozen, fertilized eggs to be given to his brother and his wife who have been unable to have children and who are God-fearing, able citizens.  Naturally, this puts Zoe and Vanessa arguing that they can provide an equally loving and good household for any child that arises from the frozen, fertilized eggs being given to them.  Shockingly, Max and his brother's wife fall for each other while he's staying with his brother.  In the end, the judge awards the fertilized eggs to Max; however, he gives them to Zoe.  The child is then raised by Zoe and Vanessa, but also Max who eventually marries his brother's wife.    It is a riveting read, but all Picoult books are so this one will definitely not disappoint.