Archive for the ‘A million and two reasons to procrastinate’ Category

This past Sunday, I had the honor of meeting author John Corey Whaley. He was here in San Diego for an author event at our local independent book store (Yellow Book Road). He was in town to help promote his new novel Noggin(Antheneum, 2014).

Noggin comp rev2

Here is a description of the book:

Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.
Now he’s alive again.
Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

It’s an intriguing idea for a novel. The concept of waking up five years later and having to deal with not only a new body, but how your loved ones have changed in the past five years. I can’t wait to read it.

It was interesting to hear some behind the scenes info about the story and about his other novel winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz and William C. Morris Awards Where Things Come Back (Antheneum, 2012). It’s always fun to hear a little bit about an author’s process and I learn something new every time.

I will post my book thoughts later once I’ve had a chance to read the novel. In the meantime, happy reading and enjoy your summer.

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk


Read Full Post »

Have you ever been at the start of something big? That struggling actor you met is suddenly a box office favorite? That novel you read by an unknown author quickly moves up the best seller list? My husband recalls seeing a young comic starting his career at a comedy club up in L.A.many years ago. He was surprised when a few years later this comedian had moved from the comedy stage to become a big star. His name?

JimCarreyJim Carrey

Yesterday, I had two moments that I would describe as cusp moments. I was invited to a concert for an unknown band and I received the ARC for my best friend Sarah’s novel.

KPRIWe have a local independent radio station here in San Diego. For the past 10 years they have helped new bands kick off their careers with a small private concert for a group of  listeners. These concert’s have helped launch the careers of such artists as Jason Mraz, Shawn Colvin, and Imagine Dragons.

Last night my husband and I hopped aboard the Hornblower  ship Inspiration for a  a harbor cruise and to listen to a new band called the Bad Suns. It was the perfect night for a cruise on the San Diego bay.  The Bad Suns were talented and put on a great show. Speaking as a band widow of over 25 years and on how excited the audience grew through the evening, I predict this band will go far.
MBEI was also happy to receive the ARC for my blog buddy Sarah’s novel My Best Everything. I have been excited to watch this novel grow from pages submitted to our critique group to a full blown novel you can actually hold in your hand. To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement.

The novel has undergone several revisions, since those days long ago at critique group and after only reading the first few chapters (I did have a concert to attend) I am eagerly looking forward to see how the novel has changed and grown.

We can never predict what the future holds, but I can say that with both the band and Sarah’s book I feel like I am on the cusp of something big. I can’t wait to see if my predictions come true.

Happy reading,

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

Read Full Post »

Sorry I didn’t post last week. It’s been a busy week here at the Santillan household. In the last eight or so days we have celebrated: 2 birthdays, Father’s Day, a graduation, a funeral, the ending of an old job and the beginning of a new job. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going. But each event served as a reminder of the constancy of change. Nothing stays the same. Things are always in movement.

Last Saturday, we celebrated Son#2’s graduation from High School. As I faced that last week, I marked down the milestones that I knew I would never face again: last school lunch, last day of carpool, etc… It was a bittersweet moment as I watched my son take the stage to receive his diploma. My baby has grown up. I remembered his first weeks in High School and wondered where the time went. But just as I look back at those moments and wish I could hold on to them for just a moment more, I look forward to the future and am eager to see where he will go.

One week later, I found myself at the funeral for a family friend. The gentleman was in his 70’s and had lived a full and happy life with a family who cared for him greatly. And though his final years were faced with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s I was touched by the legacy of love and hope he left his family. This legacy will continue on through his children and grandchildren.

In our family, it has become a tradition to place an unlit candle on the side of the cake. It represents the hope for the coming year. As I placed the candle on the cake this year, I was reminded of both the graduation and the funeral. Both events while on opposite ends of the spectrum were celebrations of the past, with the eye to the future.

I’m hoping things will settle down here for a while and we can catch our breath. But if they don’t, I know we’ll be okay. I’ve seen the past and I have tremendous hope for the future.

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk



Read Full Post »


My son's steel wool photography.

My son’s steel wool photography

This past weekend I attended my nephew’s high school graduation. His private all-boys school promotes a strong work ethic and places a great emphasis on service. Sitting there, listening to snippets of the amazing achievements and important service projects completed, it was easy to believe that each of the 295 graduating boys was going to go out and do good in the world. It was clearly expected that each boy has already – and will continue to – make a positive difference. It was a message I needed to hear.

Because, while I was sitting in this ceremony, celebrating the shining wonder of these boys, I was reeling from the news of the drive-by shootings and rampage near Santa Barbara – an event that hit way too close to home. My beautiful, amazing, strong – and blonde – daughter lives in the neighborhood where this tragedy took place. She heard it unfold from start to finish. Before this, she had no idea what a gun shot sounds like. She does now. 

This mentally ill young man said some pretty horrible things about young women – with a focus on blondes – in a very public way. His comments have understandably and rightly promoted a heated reaction. Even though he was clearly unhinged and unwell, there is still a lot of hurt wrapped up in this ugliness. It has brought to light – again – the fact that there is a lot of fear and mistrust between the sexes. 

It’s terrifying to think my daughter and her friends were exactly the kind of girls that this troubled and broken young man thought he hated. And it makes me incredibly sad that they experienced this violence. Because a close call is enough to change you. It shifts your perspective. It makes the world look different. Less shiny.

But, at the same time, I have faith in these girls to make something good come out of the darkness. These are girls who have already stood up for themselves this year even though it wasn’t the easy thing to do. And I have faith in the good young men I know too. The ones that know women are more than their bodies. More than something to conquer and possess. 

We have to look to the light. 

 Sarah Tomp



Read Full Post »

Hello Dahlings!

For those of you new to the blog, each year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day I gather with the women of our family for a lunch at a winery. I have lovingly named my mother and her sister’s “The Gabor’s” based on their talk of husband’s, beauty tips, and advice.  There’s a saying in our family “When wine goes in… secrets come out” and each year The Gabor’s prove this adage correct. Don’t get me wrong, they never get drunk (it’s not seemly to look less than your best in public), but I find that a glass or two of wine sure does lower their inhibitions.



This year, due to some scheduling issues, we had to move our luncheon up a week. So last Saturday we loaded up the cars and headed to the winery. As a special treat, my sister-in-law who usually works on Saturday’s, was able to join us for the first time. I have grown so accustomed to our luncheons that I did not think to prepare her. She’s been in the family for over 13 years and it honestly didn’t cross my mind. If I had, I would have saved the poor girl from the coughing fit she had as she nearly choked on her salad.

It started with a simple question about my aunt’s dating life. My mom’s youngest sister has been computer dating and we wanted to hear if she had found anyone interesting. She proceeded to share some of her dating experiences involving, guys with pony tails, eyebrow piercings, and the date that calculated their bill by the candlelight at the table. This conversation happened well into the lunch so some wine had been consumed. So when my aunt started talking about one gentleman with a foot fetish who was interested in sucking her toes, my poor sister-in-law nearly choked on her Vineyard Chicken Salad. I should have warned her to take small bites. Lucky for us, she was able to breathe on her own and didn’t require any medical intervention.

All joking aside, it is always a lovely day and I am truly thankful for these women in my life. We’re a crazy bunch, but I love them like crazy.

So keep your chins up (you never want to let them see your neck sag) and smile through it all.

Happy Early Mother’s Day,

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

Read Full Post »

To wrap up April ~ aka Poetry Month ~ here’s a spine poem that tells a story… 














Sarah Tomp


Read Full Post »

I knew from an early age that my boys were not going to follow the typical path. Instead of baseball and soccer they preferred taking things apart and computers. And occasionally, they would even take apart my computer, until I put my foot down. People in our neighborhood soon became aware of my gadget boys and would show up at the door with broken electrical items for them to dismantle and dissect.


Once it became abundantly clear that this was their path, I tried to prepare them for a world that seem to give more respect to individuals who could throw or catch a ball rather than reprogram your microwave. To keep the junk to a minimum, I placed large plastic bins under their beds to hold the nuts, bolts, screws, and bits of old equipment that gadget boys tend to gather. I began reading them biographies of people like Edison, Einstein, Jobs, and Gates who didn’t fit the common mold. But it wasn’t always an easy path.

Son #2 discovered robotics during his high school years and that has been a tremendous outlet for him. As a parent, it was wonderful to see my son gathered with hundreds of like-minded kids for competitions.

I ran across this video filmed at the Denver Comic Con of actor Wil Wheaton responding to a question by a young girl on how to deal with being called a nerd. I thought is was very wise and touching and if I had this video when my boys were younger, you can be sure I would have played it for them.

It’s not always easy taking a different path. Today because of men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates being a nerd isn’t as bad as it was in the past. With the advent of computers and computer technology people are more open to accept those who are more technology oriented.

The gadget boys are grown now. But if you were to ask them, I think they would agree with what Wil Wheaton has to say it does get better as you get older.

Happy Reading  Dismantling

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »