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Rag Lady by Susie Black is a Celebrate Mothers Bookish Event pick #womensfiction #mothersday #giveaway

Title: Rag Lady


Author: Susie Black


Genre: Women’s Fiction


Book Blurb:


Recent college graduate Holly Schlivnik dreams of being a writer, but fate has other plans. A family crisis throws her into an improbable situation and her life will never be the same. Determined to make her own luck when things don’t happen the way she plans, the irrepressible young woman takes a sledgehammer to the glass ceiling and shatters it to smithereens. The wise-cracking, irreverent transplanted Californian takes you on a raucous, rollicking rollercoaster ride of her hysterical adventures as a ladies’ apparel sales rep traveling in the deep South as she ends up finding herself along the way.




Nana cocked a brow and asked, “So, sweetheart, something’s troubling you?” 


Where to begin? I bought a few moments by idly shredding a napkin. Nana slapped my hand and pinned me with one of her looks that said to spit whatever it was out already. I stopped shredding and started talking. “I guess you heard the news about Dad’s job offer by now?” 


Nana smiled and clapped. “Yes, of course. He can’t stop kvelling over all those orders you wrote. This is so exciting.” Nana narrowed her eyes and tapped the tip of her nose with her index finger. But from the look on your face, I guess it’s not so exciting to you? Eh?”  


I dipped my head. “It is exciting, but also, kinda scary.” I sighed. “Nana, up until a few weeks ago, it seemed like my life was set. I was going to grad school.”


Nana frowned. “So? Nothing’s stopping you from still going. Are you worried you’ll hurt your dad’s feelings if you turn down his job offer? If you are, forget it. You are not responsible for his feelings. He is. You must make up your own mind, and do what’s best for you, not what you think he wants you to do. You can’t live your life doing things to make other people happy.”  She pointed a gnarled index finger at me. “Listen, kiddo. People come and people go, but you’re stuck with yourself. So, the one person you’d better keep happiest is you.”


“To tell you the truth, the problem is, I kinda like Dad’s offer.” I squirmed in my chair and shoved the letter from school under her nose. “Now I have two things to choose from: school or the job.”


Nana squinted at me, perplexed. “Am I missing something?”


I smacked the table in frustration. “Choices Nana! I don’t wanna make a mistake! This is my life on the line. I will screw it up if I make the wrong choice. It’s not as though I can flip a coin.” I gave her the stink eye. “And don’t tell me to get out the stupid piece of paper and draw the line down the middle!”


Nana grinned. “And why do I do that?”


I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, yeah. To teach me the right way to make a decision.” I shook my head. “Well, guess what, Nana? I don’t want to make the decision. I was happy the decision had already been made. Now I’m not so sure. Even though I couldn’t see the point of it anymore after the disastrous newspaper interview, grad school still seemed the logical next step. On the other hand, I’m trying to imagine myself doing the job Dad does. The adventuresome part of me says it’s cool. No school, no exams, no tedious papers to compose. I’d be experiencing life instead of reading about it. And getting paid to do it. But the realistic part of me says, are you nuts? Schlepping those heavy garment bags all over the place? And what kind of a life would I have just traveling all the time? I don’t trust myself to make the right decision, and I’m driving myself crazy. I want someone else to decide, and tell me which way to go.”


Nana looked over her glasses and clucked her tongue. “Well, too bad, kiddo. Life doesn’t work that way. Let me tell you something. And the sooner you learn it, the easier your life will be. Man plans, and God laughs.”


I looked at Nana like she’d spoken in Sanskrit. “Meaning?”


Nana answered in the same indulgent tone she used when I was a toddler. “It means plan all you want, but most of the time, your plans don’t mean a hill of beans. To use your vernacular, shit happens. You’re going along singing a song, confident life is a well-planned party. But the truth is, the road to life from birth to death isn’t paved in a straight line. It’s paved with hills and valleys, U-turns, and unexpected curves. And trust me. Nothing usually works out the way you think it will.”


A product of the predictability of school, the control freak part of me got a tad pissy with the direction this conversation had taken. “So, you’re saying we don’t have any control over anything. Some cosmic big brother is making all our decisions for us and we’re nothing more than robots? If that’s the case, why even bother making a decision, since it really doesn’t matter?”


Nana rolled her eyes. “Of course not. Don’t be a twit. I’m saying to really live life and not merely exist taking up space, you must love a good mystery, love a good adventure, and love a good challenge. Kiddo, nothing in life is as constant as change. Keep your head on a swivel, and explore all your options. Look behind you for a sense of history, to the sides for a sense of proportion, and most important, remember God screwed our heads on facing forward for a reason. To look ahead to the future. To make good decisions, you can’t be afraid to make a mistake. You will learn more from your failures than from your successes. Regret is the worst human emotion because it is the one we can usually do nothing about. Always be yourself, don’t live your life for someone else, or in terms of someone else. Trust your gut, and believe in yourself.”


When she finished, I asked, “So, what should I do?” 


Nana waved that gnarled index finger at me again and smiled. “Nice try, kiddo. It’s not important what I think. It’s only important what you think. So?”


In a moment of clarity, I looked Nana in the eye and made my decision.


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What makes your featured book a must-read?


Rag Lady is a must-read book because it is a primer for learning how to live.


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.


Runs May 7 – May 14, 2024.


Winner will be drawn on May 15, 2024.


Author Biography:


Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.


She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.


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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
May 09

Thank you, Susie, for sharing your delightful book in our Celebrate Mothers Bookish Event!

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