Susan Schneider's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Doesn't everyone love a good wedding?  Beautiful wedding dresses, not so beautiful bridesmaids dresses, plenty of alcohol and the chicken dance.  What's not to like? And no one knows weddings like author Susan Schneider.  She's the former executive editor of Modern Bride and Elegant Bride and has spent the last ten years getting engaged women ready for their big day. So when we saw she had written a book about, what else, the bridal industry, we knew it would be a lot of fun!

Here's the scoop on The Wedding Writer:

Lucky Quinn writes up weddings for one of the hottest bridal magazines. And it wasn’t easy to get there. From humble beginnings, she outsmarted her way into the center of New York’s glamorous magazine industry – making up for her background with a sharp mind, whip-thin physique, and ceaseless ambition.

Then, in one day, her life is utterly transformed; two of the magazine’s major competitors fold, and Lucky is named Editor-in-Chief, replacing the formidable, but aging Grace Ralston, who had been at the magazine’s helm from day one. Grace taught Lucky everything she knows, but now it seems that she taught her too well…

As the ripples of Lucky’s promotion spread, the intricate lives of four women begin to unfold. Felice, Your Wedding’s elegant and unshakeable Art Director is now being shaken for the first time by troubles at home. Sara, the Fashion Director, is famed for her eagle eye for fashion trends and exquisite hair. But, for all her know-how, “the Angel of Bridal” has never come close to starring in a wedding herself – she’s picked the dress, but where’s the groom? Grace, recovering in the wake of her sudden, humiliating fall from power, must learn to accept herself – and love – after a life dedicated to fulfilling other women’s dreams. And, through it all, Lucky begins to discover just how lonely the top really is.

Sound good to you?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday August 21 after 6pm PST.


5 DO'S

1. Do be cranky. For a while I was almost afraid to say I hated Facebook. Voicing this opinion made me sound so uncool--not to mention, old. Quel horreur! But honestly,it is a great, big, fat waste of time. I know that other people find it enthralling. Sadly, I've found I can be just as enthralled as anyone else. I can sit and mindlessly click around Facebook for hours on end. So I tell myself--and everyone--how much I hate it. This is simple but effective behavior modification because it breaks the spell, making it easier for me to write, read, talk to my daughter, take a walk, shoe shop, and whatever else is good, clean fun.

2. Do be brave. I tend to be shy. Low self-esteem? Absolutely. So when it came to promoting The Wedding Writer, I was utterly mortified. However, publishers expect you to put on your PR hat and get out there wearing a sandwich board. Stand in line for a movie and while you're at it, hand out business cards. Hit people over the head until they swear they'll buy your book, read it all in one sitting and LOVE it. These things are difficult for shy people. What to do? Well, in the words of my daughter and her boyfriend, "The hard sell is so uncool. Be subtle. Don't turn people off." OK! Out of the mouths of babes. Subtle, I can be. (At the same time, avoid putting a paper bag over your head--be proud!)

3. Do allow your personality to widen, broaden, and deepen. Most of us women are so much more than we let on. To be very honest, I had to get older before I could appreciate myself. I was so caught up in what I looked like, sounded like, felt like, and who was looking at me and what they were thinking, and why some guy didn't call me back when he said he would, and why someone else was thinner or more successful...all of this is just as much a waste of time as Facebook.

4. Do be kind. The Dalai Lama said, "Kindness is my religion." I love that! I am one of those New Yorkers who always gives change to street musicians. I'm a softie in a tough town. I feel that most people try really, really hard, and life knocks us down a lot.  I've been through a divorce and raised a child by myself. My sister had cancer. I know people my age who've died. So let's be kind to each other. We aren't here for all that long.

5. Do take yourself seriously (but not always). If you have something you really want to do--write? paint? travel? read War and Peace? sew your own wedding dress?--then do it. Ignore people who try to undermine you. At the same time laugh at yourself and how hard you strive. A yoga teacher once pointed out to me that I'm a "striver." I'm always "efforting" (not a real word, but we know what she means). I've found that life should be part striving and part letting go. Not easy, but worth thinking about.

DO-OVER I'd like to take back all the time I've spent being critical of myself and others. It probably amounts to about a third of my life. I could have written at least three more novels by now. But you can't do it over, you can only use what you know right now. This very moment. I vow never to be self-critical again!

Thanks Susan! xo, L&L

To read more about Susan, head on over to her The Wedding Writer or find her on Twitter.