You’re Invited to a Party! My Short Story Published in Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup for the Soul, Angels and Miracles

Hello, My Faithful Followers!

My short story called “The Desk” is being debuted in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles book, AVAILABLE TOMORROW, November 1, 2016, at a book store near you! (Or online, of course! Here–> at AMAZON)


I’m beyond excited about being part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul family now. It’s truly an honor.

This particular collection of 101 stories (cherry picked out of somewhere between 5000 and 6000 submissions!) is a widely varied collection of stories relating to . . . well, it’s much easier to allow the Chicken Soup folks explain it . . .

Miracles, answered prayers, cases of divine intervention—they happen every day—strengthening our faith, giving us hope, and proving that good things do happen to good people!

Miracles are all around us—we just have to look to see them. These powerful stories will deepen your faith and give you hope that good things do happen to good people. From guardian angels to divine messengers, from miraculous healing to messages from heaven, from mysterious dreams that come true to divine coincidence, you’ll be in awe as you read these 101 stories of true wonder and inspiration. These stories are written by real people—ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences—who are just as surprised that these things happened to them as we are to read about them.

TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 1, 2016, the Chicken Soup folks are hosting a TWITTER PARTY for us contributors, with an open invitation for family and friends to join us. I’d love to have you in attendance if you can make it!

If you attend, make sure to give a shout out to me! My twitter tag is:  @SusanMaddyJ

Thanks to my family and friends who support me in my baby steps in the big, big world of writing and my big, big endeavors to find my place in it! I love you so much for encouraging me to dream that big!

Warmest love and regards,



Writer’s Journal_3: Addiction

Most days I’m just feeding my addiction.

I’m rather obsessive now. Consumed by it.

I’m back to three blogs again. Really? I tried this once before and failed. I simply can’t keep a steady pace on all three at once. Clearly, this glaring fact doesn’t matter. I’m back in the saddle.

I’m bouncing around between blogs, memoirs, and short stories, trying to score big on the writer’s pinball machine I insist on playing. Still not sure what scoring big means. Adding to my word count? Adding to how many pieces get published? Adding to my chances of writing something that isn’t pure rubbish and has value beyond what it does to me?

I’ll keep playing. I’m an addict. An addict for these words that keep lining up waiting for me to inject another into the game.

Copyright @ 2016 | All rights reserved.

Writer’s Journal_2: Published

Just after I finished writing a chapter today for my second memoir, I checked my email and found a bit of good news . . . one of my short stories made it into a feel-good Chicken Soup for the Soul book, coming out this fall. This is good news, for it places upon my head the crowning title of “published author.”

“Barely,” some may say. But for me, this feels like chicken soup heated up to exactly the right temperature . . . good for what ails my writer’s mind. I feel better already.  Mmmmm . . .

Copyright @ 2016 | All rights reserved.

A Writer, Quite by Accident

This is for all the late bloomers in the world_2__Liz Gilbert quote

“I am a writer.”

I nearly choke on the words. God help me if ever I am published and then must swallow the words “I am an author.”

I am a writer by accident. It started in 2007 when I wrote a rather long personal narrative, describing a difficult period of time for my husband and I for a memoir a ghostwriter was helping him write. The words I offered were written from a place of pain. The ghostwriter read my submission and asked, “Are you a writer?”

“Oh, no,” I replied, laughing off the suggestion.

Two months later, my narrative was thrown into the memoir, unedited (cringe). The ghostwriter didn’t want to change a thing. Several full chapters appeared in the final book in full italics, presented as “and in his wife’s own words . . . ”

The following year I signed up for an Adult Ed course at local community college–Novel and Memoir Writing. Even though I was 48-years-old at the time, I was a youngster in the classroom primarily filled with senior citizens, peppered with an occasional young’n like me.

There, I learned a few basics–the meaning of words relative to writing, like character, setting, point of view, tone, pace, suspense, and pace.
I’d never written creatively in the past. Creative writing felt difficult to me, like when I tackled my first sewing project decades earlier. With writing and with sewing, these projects required my full energy and took forever to finish. At least with sewing, though, the end product was perfect. With writing, not so much. But I kept at it.

The Adult Ed teacher announced he was offering another class–on the heels of the one we were in–Advanced Novel Writing. In order to participate, we would have to bring in a chapter of a piece we were working on. “You should sign up,” my teacher said.

“But I’ve never written a chapter in my life.”

“Well, you have a month, so better get to it. See you in the next class.”

When the teacher reviewed my work a month later, he gave me a 10 out of 10 for nearly all aspects of my work. My fellow students rated me as high and nearly as high. “You must read a lot,” my teacher said.

“Actually, no. That is, with the exception of self-help books.”

“Well, makes no difference. You are a writer.”

In 2011, I started a blog.

In 2013, I started another blog.

In 2014, yet another.

I joined a writers’ group. From that, I made connections and was approached by a fellow writer (an award-winning former TV producer) to do development editing on his memoir about the entertainment business. Two years later, I still work with him on that project, which further strengthens my own writing and editing skills. He’s about ready to seek a publisher for his manuscript.

Last summer, I spent two months writing 75,000 words of my own memoir. I’ve walked through a second draft, which may not ever see the light of day. I’ve been writing it from a place of pain and have been working my way out of the darkness there, but it has a long way to go. I understand now how some writers spend a decade writing one book. This book may suffer the same fate. It took me four years of avoidance to get around to writing that first draft.

Last year, I also accidentally came upon an opportunity to write a lengthy obituary for a Parachuting Hall of Fame nominee who died before knowing he was even under consideration for the award. I expected my words might be heavily edited and might appear, at best, in small print at the bottom of some page. Instead, my article received the slightest of edits and appeared as part of a full-page spread, along with the nominee’s photo. Not only did I have my name published with the article, but the magazine was larger than I expected. It was a nationally distributed magazine called Parachutist.

Today, I have a couple of short stories under consideration for publication in an internationally recognized book series. The stories are not literary masterpieces. They’re just stories from the heart.

“I am a writer.” The words still don’t sit right on my bones. They’re itchy and uncomfortable. And yet here I am now on my third, fourth, or fifth blog . . . I’ve lost count.

Despite my efforts to engage in other activities I also enjoy, I keep coming back to writing. I find a certain peaceful haven in writing. Even when the writing isn’t coming as easily as I’d like, it gives me peace of mind to get the words out of me, to get the idea of something out of me.

“I am a writer.” It’s true. I am.


I’d like to suggest something to you:

However it is that you’ve come upon writing, however late in the game it seems to you, embrace your desire to write. If it calls you, answer the call and write. Let it reveal itself to you. Let it grow within you till it feels comfortable to say, “I am a writer.” You just never know where it might lead you. Wherever you go with writing, it’ll have been worth the trip. It has been for me.

If you’re new to writing, how did it “hook” you?


Copyright @ 2016 | All rights reserved.