Deb Susan Writes With Dragons and Seahorses

Hello from sunny (and currently far-too-hot) Northern California!

I’m Deb Susan, and I’m at the ball because I was attacked by ninjas. (Well, one ninja – and he’s fictitious – but I digress.)

Although my Shinobi mystery series is set in 16th century Japan, I write in two very different (and much more mundane) places.

On days when I finish the clients’ work before quitting time, I spend the remaining hours in my law office writing – or editing, which in my case makes up the bulk of my “writing” time. I love my office. This is the view from my desk:

Yes, those are dragon-headed Chinese chairs.

No, they don’t usually bite.

My home-office inhabitants, however, have been known to nibble me now and again.

At home I write from my combination office-libary-reef. (And like Deb Kelly, I seldom wear pants – or shoes – when writing. If I’m home, I’m probably barefoot and in shorts.) The desk faces a window that looks out onto my rose garden.

Our smallest cat, Oobie, likes to help. Sometimes more effectively than others.

When I’m writing, she also keeps an eye on the 60 gallon salt-water reef and seahorse tank that sits to the right of my desk.

I spell “distraction” S-E-A-H-O-R-S-E.  (More on that next week, when our topic shifts to “When I’m not writing…”)

I’m a publishing lawyer who writes mystery novels and raises seahorses. In other words, “strange and easily distracted.”

My ninja detective, Hiro Hattori, has a kitten who’s more than loosely based on little Oobie – though I’ll leave that kitten’s name a surprise until the book debut. The novel’s title, Claws of the Cat, isn’t based on cats, however. It hints at something more ninja-related … you’ll have to stay tuned for the story behind the name.

I’m thrilled to be part of the Debutante Class of 2013, and looking forward to a fantastic year of blogging here at the Ball. You’ll want to come back daily, because my fellow Debutantes – Dana, Amy, Kerry and Kelly – are among the most fun and talented authors around. I’m honored and flattered to be included with such a great group of ladies. We’ll do our best to make every day a dance you don’t want to miss!

And now, I’d love to hear something more about you! Are you a writer? Where do you write? If not, who’s your favorite detective (book or film)? Hop into the comments and let me know!

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34 thoughts on “Deb Susan Writes With Dragons and Seahorses

    • Dogs are never boring! (I had a Lhasa Apso growing up who could prove that point with every bark and flea!)

      Thanks though – I promise to “show not tell” more about the seahorses soon!

  1. Love the seahorse tank! Come on, ‘fess up–you like seahorses because they look like miniature dragons, don’t you?

    Wishing you a fantastic year hear at the Ball! (I think your nickname should be “Dances with Dragons.”)

    • You know, I DO love them because they look like a cross between dragons and horses! They just look magical to me. As it turns out, they’re both smart and incredibly foolish animals. The foolish part, they and I have in common!

  2. So many questions and all I want to do is squee about that aquarium–SQUEEE!! Seahorses!! LOVE!

    Much like I have the distraction of our bird feeder behind me where I write, I think you trump it with this view, Susan. Whoa. I would never, I repeat NEVER, get a single word down with that near my desk.

    No, let me rephrase that. I would, it would just be: “Just keep swimming, swimming. Just keep swimming…” (Nemo fanatics unite!)

    • Thanks Erika! The funny thing is, I’ve finally learned to write through it…except that every now and again I get the feeling I’m being watched. I turn around and literally have three seahorses watching me through the glass (they do look out). When they see me watching, they start bonking their noses against the glass and swim off to the feeding station.

      The big male loves to watch me watch him, even when he’s not hungry (which is rare). I’d probably be more productive without them, it’s true, but I do love them!

  3. I’m with Deb Erika – you win for most beautifully distracting office. Welcome to the Ball, Susan!

  4. Susan, your office is GORGEOUS. This is exactly the sort of office I was afraid my fellow debs would be displaying. Those chairs. That aquarium. That stunning Northern Cali view! I want to go to there.

    • I have to admit, I am very lucky with the views and the surroundings. It wasn’t always that way! But I definitely like my little “caves” (that’s my husband’s term for them!). I definitely work better in peaceful surroundings.

      And you do have one major advantage, you know. When I’m in the office, pants are not optional.

  5. Hi Susan! I’m feeling calmer just looking at your office! I want to see more aquarium pics, though – I love seahorses. I’m so looing forward to your Thursday posts here and can’t wait to read your Shinobi books that sound so fascinating. 😀

    • You’re in luck, Joanne – next week’s topic is “What I do when I’m not writing…” and when I’m not writing, I’m generally looking at seahorses, so I’m planning a photographic “tour of the tank” and its inhabitants!

      And thank you … I’ll do my best to make Thursdays worth reading!

    • Thank you, Sharla – I’m like that too … so easily distracted. (Deb Scrat might be a more appropriate name.) Ironically, the aquarium has actually helped – I do spend a lot of time seahorse-gazing but before I got it I used to get up and wander around the house. Now, at least, I keep the rear in the chair!

  6. “Dances With Dragons” – perfect! From publishing clients to ninjas, Deb Susan can dance with the best of them. Congrats on being in the Debutante Class of 2013, and thanks for sharing your “views!” Waiting for your first title to be released in print has already made the top list of GREAT things happening in 2013!

    • Thanks Amanda – and you’re cracking me up with “Dances with Dragons.” Thanks also for the praise – I hope you’ll enjoy seeing CLAWS in print. I know I can’t wait!

  7. I love seahorses. Since childhood, they’ve been one of my favorite sea critters. I hope at some point, you’ll talk about what got you interested in Japanese history, and, specifically, writing a mystery series set in ninja times.

    Meanwhile, I’m loving both of your offices!

    I’m a writer. Working on a mysteries series. Mine’s set in Ireland, current times. Had an agent but then the economy tanked and she flew the coop, never to be seen again in the literary world. That was awhile back, I know, and since then it’s been tough going on the agent front. It’s strange. There’s the time before the economy tanked at about the same time that epublishing took off, and now. But I’ll keep plugging away.

    Nice to meet you. I’m looking forward to what will happen with the debs this year!

    • Thanks Lisa, it’s nice to meet you too! I’ve loved seahorses all my life too. I wanted to have some of my own since I was little (I even caught one in a bucket at my grandmother’s beach house when I was a child, but I felt badly for it and let it go. Even at six, I didn’t think it would like to live in a bucket.)

      I’ll definitely be glad to share my interest in Japan and the inspiration for the Shinobi Mysteries – in fact, it’s coming up in a couple of weeks!

      Your series sounds really interesting. I love mysteries, and I adore Ireland, so it sounds right up my alley! I’d love to hear more!! I’m sorry to hear about the agent issue, but if you attracted one I’m sure you will find another – good mysteries always find an audience!

      I hope to see you here again!

      • Thanks for the vote of confidence! I can certainly tell you more about my Ireland series at some point, should the occasion arise. Meanwhile, I’ll definitely be keep popping into the deb ball!

    • Thanks Meredith! I appreciate the comment and the support – it’s really nice (and humbling) to be part of a great tradition like the Debutante Ball.

  8. You must have written that earlier this week because I’m quite certain you aren’t in Northern California right now. 😛
    That said, how did I miss those chairs when I was in your office? They’re gorgeous!

    • Leave it to a real-world friend to catch me out! It’s true that I wrote this just a little early. I had to fly out to Denver for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Conference on Wednesday morning, I so had to make sure I got my pictures taken and my work space documented before I left!

      Not sure how you missed the chairs when you were there, though. I moved them in a few days after we leased that office six years ago. They must have been hiding from you!

      Thanks so much for coming to the Ball and commenting – I absolutely love getting comments!!

    • Thanks Piper! I hope you like The novel as much as I liked writing it!! And also, thanks for opening your home to me in Denver!!

  9. Sea horses. I swoon with delight and envy. I’ve loved those little guys since I wrote some sort of report on them for school in Sixth Grade. I’m sure it was a horribly botched rehashing of the encyclopedia article, but that didn’t change how I loved them.

    I too am looking forward to reading your mystery, and am as full up with ‘satiable curtiosity’ as the elephant’s child as tho how you come to have set your novel in the mysterious orient.

    • Thanks Kerry, I adore them too – I always have. They’re such strangely beautiful creatures, and very – VERY – interactive. A strange combination of clever and thoroughly silly.

      I promise to “tell all” about Master Ninja Hiro and how I met him in the weeks to come!

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