Monthly News from Susan Miller — July 2024

Dear Reader,

You might already know that I had a flood in my apartment suddenly one evening on April 16. I was writing a article for Vogue Japan. It was due at midnight (noon in Tokyo), and I was finished with my 7,528-word piece and was doing spell check when suddenly there was a pounding on my door. It was the building maintenance man saying that he needed to check my bathroom for a flood.

Dumbfounded, I welcomed him in and showed him that there was no flood at all in the larger of my two bathrooms. He asked me to next show him my tiny bathroom in my bedroom, and when I opened the door to my bedroom I was horrified. I felt my bare feet on squishy, soaked-with-water, wall-to wall carpeting. The water had oddly taken a right turn into my neighbor’s apartment.

Long story short, I now have to move out of my apartment while my contractor puts in a new floor, checks the walls of the bathroom, and does much more work. I found a perfect small apartment, taking with me with only the things I need (ha, ha, my computers, couch, lamps, clothes, makeup and skin care products). The rest goes into storage for a year!

In New York City, all leases are all for a year or more, never for less time, so although according to my contractor construction on my apartment will only take six months to complete, friends tell me to add extra time—they think nine months is more reasonable if things have to be ordered (they do). But I am required to rent for a year.

Within days of the accidental flood, I immediately got sick with some sort of mysterious respiratory illness, which the Urgent Care doctor said she knew was not the flu, not COVID, and not RSC, but she could not determine what I actually had. It’s not surprising I got sick for two full weeks (in bed) immediately being hit with the news I would need to move everything in the apartment, in every room, including my office, files, and so forth. I felt runover by a bulldozer.

My contractor says everything has to go, including things like my stove and dishwasher (which will be put into storage). He says the dust created in the construction work would destroy all my appliances. I called my IT person, Evangeline, and told her I would need to set up WIFI in the new place, but I was worried how I would wrap up my printer and new desktop Mac—she told me not to worry, she was an expert at that.

Things began to occur to me—does the apartment have shades on the windows? Will I need renter’s insurance? I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. If I didn’t have to write in between all this, it would be easier, but of course, I want to write! My chart is promising a happy ending after all this prep is done.

Things moved fast after that. Calls keep coming—from my insurance company, present landlord and future landlord, contractor, architect (to measure by laser), decorator, lawyer, accountant, and banker, along with college students who are willing to help me pack as a summer job.

My new landlord handed me a 47-page application to fill out. Welcome to New York City. The vacancy rate in my city is less than 1%. I needed to find a place near my normal apartment to get my mail and packages, not trusting that forwarded mail would reach me quickly enough. And I found an apartment in the same building!

The application also requires six letters of reference for business and personal character, so I was back on the phone again. All the letters arrived within a day.

It is a miracle I can write.

I write for several fashion magazines, including Amica, based in Milan, Italy, and my editor, Stefania, called to tell me their deadline was moved up a week. Oh no, one whole week!

You have a snapshot of my life right now. I do feel accomplished in that I finished writing all 16,000 words for next year’s “Year Ahead 2025 Astrology Calendar.” It went into first edit and then to my art director in Los Angeles, Michelle Roque. She will send it back to me and my editor two or three times until all the words fit in the boxes for each date.

My editor of Astrology Zone, Edward Rubinstein, lives in Philadelphia and works with me in New York by phone. At this stage, the work on the calendar is fun, finding ways to say certain predictions more concisely without losing the poetic quality of the words I strive to create. Before I ever send my manuscript to Edward, I ask astrologer Courtney O’Reilly to check the accuracy of what I wrote for each day. After Michelle transfers all my writing into the calendar, Edward has to check that no words have fallen out in the transfer process, which happens occasionally but rarely.

We all work in a very timely fashion, dropping everything when the edits come in. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Arizona, Sarah Miller (no family connection), of Axis Entertainment, who handles all my digital assets, volunteered to work on my updated bio for the calendar because I never got to that task. Together we go through several edits. Meanwhile, Izak Zenou, my favorite artist for my calendar, has completed all the art, a process we start in February. First I see pen and inks, and then I gently ask for certain changes. We also finally agree on a cover, after going through a few incarnations. Izak then has his agent send me his new bio.

In the front of the calendar (it’s called the second cover), I list the key dates that will shape 2025, along with the dates of the eclipses, and all of the retrograde dates of the planets, and I ask Michelle to enclose those dates in a box for easy reader access. Magically, the pieces come together.

The day we go to press in Philadelphia is always a happy day. Edward, my editor in chief, used to check for accurate color for Vogue and Allure in New York before the monthly magazines went to press. Edward leaves his office and goes to the plant a few miles away and spends two days in the plant’s conference room where the printer shows him proofs.

Edward carefully examines them with a loop to make sure there is no mistake before giving the all clear. Once he caught a big error where the months were out of order. Certain calendar months are printed together in a large page called a signature and later cut, but they have to be in a certain sequence. (You and I would be puzzled by how they are laid out—it makes no sense to the casual observer. I can see how easy it would be to make a mistake.)

Then all the signatures have to dry on metal racks for a day or two. It takes time because we use heavy archival paper and rich inks with no see-through. Then the dried signature pages are sent to the bindery to be cut and assembled.

After the bindery, all the calendars are packed carefully in cardboard boxes and trucked to our fulfillment house, also outside of Philadelphia. Every part of the process happens in the United States. We provide the fulfillment house with envelopes that we have tested and know work well to keep your calendar in pristine condition through all kinds of weather.

Once the calendars are at the fulfillment house, Edward drives there to quickly see them and sends Michelle and me the first copies right off the press by FedEx—it’s done! It’s a big team effort but so worthwhile. It is so exciting for me to see it when it is done!

Thank you for your enthusiastic response to my calendar. Right now my 2024 calendar, still on the home page of my website, is being offered for $10—a great reduction from $26.99—so that you can see it. Readers are always surprised at the beautiful quality and the information in it. You still have the rest of 2024, and January 2025 is included as well. I always include January of the following year in each calendar I create, just in case you didn’t have time to get your new calendar by the time January appears.

Your response to my Year Ahead 2024 e-book surprised us! You love it so much! My goodness, you must be telling friends, because it seems to have gone viral! Thank you! It is available for $9.99 electronically on both Amazon’s Kindle and Apple, and it’s also available in all formats worldwide on Book Baby. Go to http://BookBaby.com, and then click on Bookshop in the menu and search for Susan Miller.

I just received my first review from a Book Baby professional reviewer, and she rated it five stars!. Oh, happy day!

I will be writing book for 2025, but not this month!

I need to pack!

Best wishes,

Susan