Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Topsy-Turvy

I must say my daughter and her family know how to enliven a holiday with Murphy's Law on steroids. Son-in-law Larry's just published book STATE OF DISUNION about the long-standing rivalry between Clemson and University of South Carolina was the driving focus of our week-long stay with the Clemson Clan. Of course, Granny and Poppa were just as interested in bonding with the adorable grandgirls ages 2 and 4, and bond we did!
It started with UPS NOT delivering said books needed for the Book Launch Tuesday night. Fortunately, Ned was in Greenville at Costco and was able to pick up the load of books (which just about sold out, by the way). Son-in-law was crazy busy with book signings, appearances, talks, and his job as sports writer for Clemson. The post office closed at 5 on Wednesday, so all the hundreds of orders that had come over his website HAD to be signed, packed and shuttled to the post office before then. Did the computer refuse to print the labels? YES. Did we run out of Priority envelopes? YES. Did the broken sewer line and destruction of the concrete driveway required for sewer repair necessitate constant interruptions by workers? OF COURSE!
Somehow, working in tandem to sign, package and ship books, answer the door bell, tend to 2 and 4 year-old needs, we all managed to beat the 5 o-clock deadline at the post office.
Great! Now we can pick up the fresh turkey ordered a month ago and prepare the brining. OR NOT! The delivery person FORGOT the turkey. Forgot the turkey? It's Thanksgiving, for Pete's sake. How can you remember the rutabagas, greens, potatoes and eggs and forget the TURKEY?? So, off Ned and Larry went to drive an hour to meet the delivery person half-way after she went back home to retrieve the turkey.
What else could possibly go wrong? How about a much-needed beer, dropped onto the kitchen floor and shattering into a million glass sudsy shards. It took half an hour to make sure there were no slivers to endanger little bare feet.
I am happy to report the Thanksgiving Day meal was delicious! Loclly grown, organic, and yes, FRESH! Oh
Boy! Did we have a lot to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guest Blog about teaching Eaglebait

I am having so much fun writing these guest blogs. This blogsite, "How to Deal with Bullies," is practical and user-friendly. I am honored to guest blog here. Please read and recommend to educators and parents and anybody else concerned with the problem of school bullies.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October is International Anti-Bullying Month

And I've been busy guest blogging about it.  Wednesday, October 25th two of my guest blogs were posted., a blog that deals primarily with adults who have been bullied, posted my blog about a 76-year-old who still remembers being bullied in elementary school. My blog also speaks about the definition and nature of bullying and cites Eaglebait as a resource. ( posted my blog about Eaglebait and what I am doing to work with the anti-bullying movement both locally and nationally.  I hope my blog-followers will pick up on these guests posts which are really entirely different from each other. Both blogs welcome comments.

My visit with Clemson professor, Dr Susan Limber, was both fun and productive. Dr. Limber is delightful to talk to (and she even bought me lunch at the lovely Seasons restaurant on the Clemson campus).  She provided me with several contacts directly involved in the anti-bullying effort, specifically the Olweus prevention program which she herself directs at Clemson's Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life.

Another bonus to our Clemson visit:  Two weeks with the grand-girls and their mom (our daughter) and dad.  Lots of action going on there with a 4-year old and a 2-year old in constant motion.  Highlight:  The 4-year-old leaned in and whispered in my ear, "Granny, you're my best friend!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Panel Discussion on School Bullies A Success

Last night's panel discussion at the Smith Mt. Lake Library opened a lot of eyes.  Especially Andy Bliss, the assistant principal at Forest Middle School--who informed us about the role of electronic devices as they relate to the issue of school bullies.  Whereas the Internet, I-Pods and Social Media can allow for anonymous and insidious bullying, cameras and webcams can record events such as fights, verbal altercations and Facebook postings which trap the bully in action.

Josselyn Gregory, high school counselor and college career coach spoke about the need for awareness of bullying on the part of students and teachers.

Dr. Pat Santoro, college psychology professor, informed us about the psychology of bullying--what "makes" a bully and what can be done to change negative behaviors.

I had the opportunity to relate how I came to write Eaglebait--theme school bullies--and I read a passage describing a gang fight against my protagonist.

We had a good crowd who posed excellent questions for the panelists and the Friends of the Library provided wonderful refreshments.

I appreciate everyone who took the time to participate in the panel and to come out for the event.  I'd consider doing this again if we could get together such an array of experts as we had on our panel last night.

Friday, August 5, 2011

GRAND times

When our grandson came to visit the Lake for his first "Camp Granny," I was racking my brain thinking of things for him to do. Then I remembered my own visits with my beloved Grandma. What did we do? We gathered eggs from the henhouse, picked veggies from the garden and cooked them, made jelly from the grapes, and she even taught me to crochet rag rugs from her old support hose (Grandma wasted nothing!) What wonderful memories we made doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary for her, but making magic for me.

So...Grandson and I walked, kayaked, swam, fished, hosed the garden and told stories. Nothing out of the ordinary for us at the Lake. Well, we DID go to the Bridge to play the arcade games, but I doubt that is something he'll remember years hence. Too bad I've forgotten how to crochet!

On another note, Darrell Laurant, writer for the Lynchburg News & Advance wrote a super review/article about Eaglebait. Thanks, Darrell. I've posted it on Facebook for anyone interested in reading it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Second Successful Signing!

I had a great turnout at the Smith Mt. Lake library Thursdy night--around 35 in attendance by seat count. I signed and sold quite a few books, as well. Next event for EAGLEBAIT is Saturday, August 13 at the Diamond Hill Wine gig where other local authors and I will sell and sign our books. this is turning out to be a lot of fun!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another great review for Eaglebait!

Here's the latest review for Eaglebait, written by career librarian, reviewer and world traveler, Mark Anderson. Thanks, Mark!

Eaglebait, by Susan Coryell. Bloomington IN: iUniverse, Inc.
1989, 2011.

Bullying has been an issue of grave concern in society since time immemorial. In our own sphere of years, pro-active communities have emerged to combat the menace. Articles and novels have been written. Studies have been conducted; self-help groups have come to the fore. Bullies have been thwarted, and those who have suffered in silence have been helped. The surly lad slouching in the back of a classroom waiting to taunt a victim has himself been brought to heel. The mere click of a mouse can create a cyber-bully, often with devastating consequences. The tracking technology is there, too, to bring such people out from anonymity.

We may now take a new and refreshing look at an early novel which targets the issue of bullying. In 1989, Susan Coryell, a career educator in Virginia, wrote Eaglebait, a young adult novel that is prescient in its realization of an enormous problem that in the ensuing years would create headlines and careen out of control. We now have a re-issue from iUniverse, Inc. (2011), and we can read again how Coryell’s perceptions still ring true. We can discern how her hip and often amusing depictions of 1980s culture and technology more than withstand the scrutiny and the flippancy of our new century. Updates of her situations and ideas slide into our consciousness as easily as a couple of thumbs flicking the latest palm-size screen.

Our main character, Wardy, is not the world’s greatest 14-year old. He is insolent to his mother, and disdainful of his father. He literally blows apart his chance at a good high school career at a prestigious private school. He further skews the moral compass of his life by carrying out a minor deceit. But does this mean that he should be subject to bullying? Emphatically, no. However, he is also pudgy, confused, and a brilliant science student. That’s the fodder which arch-bullies Jimmo, Jocko, and their mates find worth pursuing when Wardy shows up at his new school. Now what can Wardy do when his future is blocked by bullies?

Coryell delivers vicious scenes of bullying, cutting them from the whole cloth of a society’s perversions. Public humiliation and the mob effect take hold and engulf the hapless Wardy. We recognize the slow, gnawing nature of bullying. It wrenches our hearts, because we recognize it yet today. Coryell makes the key point that solutions are needed. If you can’t talk sense to a bully, try to steer clear and find your own support.

Wardy’s first solution is not good. He flees, and finds that a few harrowing days and nights in rural America leave him shaken beyond any taunts he endures at school.

Wardy will find his saviors, and these characters are drawn by Coryell with great sensitivity and depth. There is Grandma Lou. Would we now call her GLou? She is calm and she is wise. She would be a wonderful star turn for the encompassing warmth of Blythe Danner. Grandma Lou sips her juice and advises Wardy to choose his battles. She reveals her life as a series of give-and-take moments, and ultimately as a statement for the empowerment of women. She wants Wardy to fight his way through taunts and mixed signals towards his own goal of the mastery of science.

Moments of clarity are now more frequent for Wardy. He begins to take a more measured view of school life. He connects with some nice students. Meg, a talented and pretty classmate befriends him. It’s a jaw-dropping development for plain old Wardy. We might smile and recognize it as the precursor to a “Kevin James gets the girl” moment.

The need for caution still cannot be ignored. Is the helpful physics teacher really a savior, or a sinister presence? Wardy has to scramble and decide where his loyalties reside and the best direction for his talents. The solution to bullying has taken hold. Wardy immerses himself in family, friends, and science.

His laser experiments would be the contemporary search for “the next killer app.” That crazy little thing called a photocell is a key to Wardy’s work. Laser fuel is augmented by a common drugstore ingredient. And the good old microwave oven is now used for much more than just warming up your cup of tea. There is a backyard test of the laser, which leaves Wardy glowing and the neighbors scratching their heads.

Wardy realizes that friends will rally ‘round. An eminent scientist professor whom Wardy has written to (by any means necessary, we might muse) comes to town, and Wardy finds that collaboration with adults is a great thing. The enduring concept of mentoring thus becomes another “Ah-ha! moment” for Wardy.

The novel achieves a nice momentum. There is tension, emotional turmoil, and lots of solid science to satisfy young readers and adults alike.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Susan Coryell Author: My first talk/reading/signing for Eaglebait!

Susan Coryell Author: My first talk/reading/signing for Eaglebait!

My first talk/reading/signing for Eaglebait!

Thursday, 6:30 p.m. at the Westlake Library,I held my first public event for Eaglebait. Wow! I was in shock when 38 folks showed up. They were a magnificent audience. It was especially gratifying to see the family with a youngster going into middle school next year. Concerned parents about school bullies, doing whatever they can to help their kiddo adjust to a new school situation. Also, lots of fri

ends, neighbors, golfers, writers, and book clubbers came out to show moral support and make me smile. My grateful thanks to one and all! I signed 25 books, too. My next gig will be at the Moneta/SML Library Thursday, July 14 at 6 p.m. where I'll do a similar format. Hoping anyone who missed the Westlake event will be able to get to the next one.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A First Review for Eaglebait back-in-print

Check out a great first review for Eaglebait by writing colleague Becky Mushko. (Her latest middle school book, Stuck, is available from Cedar Creek Publishing.)
In her Eaglebait review, Becky nails the themes: bullies in the schools, self-esteem, working out problems and finding the real people in life for role models. Because Eaglebait was written 20 years ago, some of the bullying methods may have changed. But bullies themselves? No Way! They're still hateful and mean and they hurt their victims so many ways. Thanks, Becky. I'm looking forward to returning the favor in this space soon!
Becky's Web site, with a complete list of her writings can be found here.

My first signing takes place Thursday, June 9 at the Franklin County Library Westlake branch at 6:30. If you're in the vicinity, come hear me read and discuss Eaglebait. Books will be available for signing. Hope to see many of you there, for moral support, if nothing else!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Musings

Memorial Day at the Lake was kicky as usual. Great visit with our oldest son, his wife and the three oldest grands. Yeah, we boated and kayaked and skied, but the best fun? A hilarious game of Scattergories on our big new screened porch. I am sure our hysterical laughter was bouncing off the Lake.

I'm working hard to get the word out about Eaglebait back-in-print. Too bad the Internet provider is on vacation. No interest in sending out emails or replying to them. Sigh. Call it Murphy's computer law.

Some links to bullies in the schools that cite Eaglebait:

Remember to order your copy of Eaglebait at any on-line bookstore. delivers in only 2 days!

My first signing takes place Thursday, June 9 at the Franklin County Library Westlake branch at 6:30. If you're in the vicinity, come hear me read and discuss Eaglebait. Books will be available for signing. Hope to see many of you there, for moral support, if nothing else!

Friday, May 20, 2011


It took six months, but EAGLEBAIT reprint in soft cover is now available at all on-line book stores!! Originally published by Harcourt, the Young Adult novel won a number of awards, among them the International Reading Association's "Young Adult Choice," and the NY Public Library's "Books for the Teenage."

Theme: Bullies in the schools. My 14-year old protagonist, Wardy Spinks, has been a loser for as long as he can remember. Freshman year in high school he becomes the butt of malicious bullying. Eventually, Wardy's life begins to change. First, a charismatic science teacher becomes his mentor. Then, quiet Meg from biology lab seems friendly. And Big Vi takes on a life of her own. Most importantly, Wardy discovers his attitude makes a difference in how others treat him. If Wardy Spinks doesn't feel like a loser, maybe he won't be one.

One of my favorite national reviews is from BOOKLIST: "Wardy is a multidimensional protagonist whose misery, as he tries to find himself, is realistically drawn. His situation will resoonate with meaning for junior high students who may have experienced similar problems with self-acceptance."

EAGLEBAIT is cited as a resource on numerous anti-bullying websites. It is a great tool for educators, counselors and others who work with kids who might run into situations like Wardy's. Girls identify with the book as much as guys and adults frequently comment that the pace and style of EAGLEBAIT make for enjoyable grown-up reading.

I'm counting on lots and lots of my blog-followers to go to the Internet and pull up Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Borders, Backinprint, or iUniverse for orders. Cost is $12.95 plus minimal shipping charges.

Thanks, everyone!! My website:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Squirrels ate our truck.

Just when I thought I'd seen it all--we do live in Jurassic Park, for Pete's sake--we discovered squirrels have been living in the underside of our truck and, evidently, snacking on the parts. We are used to deer, moles, voles, raccoons, and crows sustaining themselves and their loved ones on every living green and flowering plant in sight. And a couple of years ago a gang of muskrats chowed down on our lake trampoline, creating a hole large enough to sink the tramp into flaccid floating flotsam. But the truck?? Is nothing sacred? The folks at the Toyota dealership were puzzled. "You say squirrels ate the part?" Well, in a word, yes. Evidently, the curly-tailed, cute little rodents were not satisfied with digging up all my potted plants in a futile effort to find nuts they did not plant there. The grape vines they ate through just didn't do the trick. No. The allure of plastic and rubber fittings in the truck engine was irresistible. Funny thing was, we thought we smelled nuts roasting on the engine. Only, we thought WE were nuts. So, I wonder. What's next? Will alligators crawl up the rip-rap and devour the neighborhood dogs? Shall we build fences high enough to ward off the wooly mammoths? Can the raptors be far behind? Who says country living is boring??

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Loving Lake Life

It's hard to beat spring at the lake. OK, the left-over leaves and the pollen are a pain, but the dogwoods and azaleas make yard work bearable. The lake itself never ceases to amaze. Canoes and kayaks sneak silently into the coves while bass boats zoom around in perpetual pursuit of fish beds. Ski boats and jetskis don't really crank up 'til after Memorial Day, so we have a little window for quiet meditation dockside. Ahhh. What fun to lounge with a lemonade and a book with nothing more than a cool breeze to disturb thought. It's hard to beat spring at the lake.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Susan Coryell Author: Confessions of a techno-dunce

Susan Coryell Author: Confessions of a techno-dunce

Confessions of a techno-dunce

I find it highly ironic that this vintage English major has managed, albeit not gracefully, mind you, to facilitate the publishing of two books via e-submissions. Let me give you one brief vignette illustrative of my technological expertise:  Tech support person:  "First, you have to open all your windows."  Vintage English major:  "Are you nuts?  It's freezing outside."

So...I limp my way along the Internet and pray my computer will learn to understand me.  My techno-savvy daughter says I need search engine optimizing-action on my website.  Yeah, right!  My writer friends, who surely must NOT be English majors, indicate the necessity of linking my website and blog to Facebook and uploading (downloading?) pictures--many pictures.  Sure, I can do that!  In my dreams. And, then there was yet another tech-support person who instructed me to,"...go to your cache (cash?) and cookies..."  I wanted to tell her there is no bakery within 25 miles, but instead I just I hung up on her.

Whereas, I love the fact I do not have to make constant trips to post office and mail box in order to deal with queries, manuscript submissions and galley proofs, I hate my inability to bond with my laptop.  Husband says, "You just have to know how the computer thinks."  Truly, I don't give a rat's behind how it thinks--or feels.  I simply want it to work the same way every time I use it without calling me "illegal" or x-ing me out with a loud bonging sound.  Why does it suddenly decide a certain website is no longer available?  The site was available yesterday.  Did it go on vacation?  Is it out to lunch?  Sigh.  What would Emily Dickenson have done?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eaglebait will be back in print soon!

I'm so pleased to let everyone know that the paperback reprint of Eaglebait will be available this spring.  I was able to utilize the Authors Guild Back-in-Print service through iUniverse.  Eaglebait is cited by numerous anti-bullying advocacies but being out-of-print has made it virtually unobtainable.  As soon as I get publication date and ordering info, I will be letting everybody know via my blog, Face Book, my web, and any other way possible that Eaglebait rides again!  I'm especially counting on my friends, relatives, and colleagues who have connections with schools, libraries, social issues and counseling groups to get the word out.  Eaglebait presents a realistic view of bullies in the schools and offers ideas for how students can work through similar problems in their own lives.  Stay tuned, readers.  More info coming soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Home again, at last!

We're back at the Lake after 3 months in sunny Hawaii.  Rehabbing an old kitchen for our son and his wife and baby was hard work but rewarding, with an end product worthy of HGTV, if I do say so myself.  Despite long labor each day, we enjoyed swimming and walking at the gorgeous Hawaiian beaches and parks.  And getting to know our almost-two Hawaiian grand daughter was a joy (and a challenge at times)!  A week's mini-vacation to the Big Island (Hawaii) was both fun and luxurious at a resort hotel, and we left exactly one week before the tsunami hit the very place we had dinner our last night.  And the volcano we walked down inside erupted the day after we left.  Yikes!  Was it something we did??  It's spring at the Lake--warm and windy with flowers popping up everywhere.  Golf and kayaking are calling.  It's good to be home.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So...Hawaii's weather is perfect, except for

Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions!  On our visit to the Big Island last week, we walked down into the lava ruins of Kiluea.  The next day, it erupted.  Was it something we did??  Exactly 7 days later, back on Oahu, we had a tsunami.  No damage to Oahu, but several places we'd visited on the Big Island flooded.  Awesome stuff.  As we wind down here, I look forward to working on my two books coming out.  Am checking all the anti-bullying websites to let them know EAGLEBAIT will be available in paperback by late spring.  Also, getting the word out on my "Cozy Mystery," A RED, RED ROSE to be published by LLDreamspell by this time next year.  Spring at the Lake will be a busy time for me!

Monday, February 21, 2011


I've sent in my copy of the contract with L&L Dreamspell for my novel A RED, RED ROSE.  They said it would take several weeks to returned my signed copy, so I'm checking the mail daily.  Not anticipating any hitches, but until I have that signed can imagine the nail-biting. 
     Also, I should be hearing from iUniverse soon.  They'll send me proofs for the reprint of EAGLEBAIT (paperback) as well as the cover art.  That time window is 8 to 16 weeks--which gives me plenty of time for anxiety pangs.  I've already written a teacher's guide for the literary part of EAGLEBAIT, but must do more research before I finalize guides for anti-bullying groups.  Rather hard to do without Internet at my elbow. 
     I shall be calling on friends and colleagues as well as family soon to help me with marketing and promotion.  Any educators out there interested in providing resource info??
     Aloha to all!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Writing finally "pays" off

Well, good news all around here.  EAGLEBAIT will come out in paperback (Publish on Demand) in 8 to 16 weeks.  I will definitely need help getting this information to schools and libraries and human services groups that deal with bullying in the schools.

Also, A RED, RED ROSE will be published by LLDreamspell within a year.  Dreamspell is a small, independent publisher with an excellent reputation.  I'll be blogging more about the book--what it's about and where it may be purchased as time goes on.  This is a dream come true--two books coming out in one year!

Thanks to all my writer friends and my readers and well-wishers.  Your support has been and will continue to be invaluable!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Exciting news!

I am working on a reprint of EAGLEBAIT in paperback, through Authors Guild's Back-in-print program.  Anti-bullying programs for schools throughout the country are springing up everywhere, even in the Virginia legislature (!)  Since EAGLEBAIT is already cited on a half dozen websites for anti-bullying groups, I'm super psyched that the book will again be available by POD through iUniverse.  More details as the project develops.  I'll be asking for help from my readers and educator colleagues when it comes to promotion/marketing.

On another high-note, my novel A RED, RED ROSE has generated interest with a small, independent publisher.  I'm almost afraid to say much lest I jinx the reality, and so will leave you with that nibblet until I have a contract in hand. 

Keep reading, friends, and raise a glass in support of all the struggling authors among us!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Aloha, everyone from the sunny shores of Oahu.  We are visiting our son, his wife and our grand daughter.  Lucky for us they live in Hawai.  It could have been Podunk, Arkansas.  I am writing, writing even here and have just sent off a new ms.  Wish me luck!  Am working to get Eaglebait into paperback and possbly E-book.  If it takes off, I may write a follow-up--Son of Eaglebait!  Eaglebait Rides Again!  But I am way ahead of myself.  Anyway, off to the beach.  More later.  Enjoy your snow and we'll enjoy our sunshine.