Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Howler Inspiration

Ever wonder where writers get the ideas for their books? Just about everyone I talk to who’s the least bit curious about writing wants to know. (Sometimes guys want to know if I’m writing about them. Go figure.)

“Why a werewolf?” people ask. “How’d you think of something like that?” and “Where did that book come from?”

I wish I could say, “It’s a long story,” but it isn’t. Not really.

First I need to tell you a little bit I’ve learned about publishing. (Admittedly, not a whole lot. 🙂 )

Most of us (well, SOME of us anyway) would like to be published by one of the Big Six or the Big Four or however many whoop-ta-doo big time New York publishers there are this week. Why? Well, their name is behind you, their publicity department is supporting you, and you get the respect of your fellow writers. Sometimes.

IOW: You’ve “made it.” (Snort!)

So hoping to break in, we try to figure out what they want. What is it? Usually, they point at a book that’s gone to #1 on the best seller lists and say, “We want something exactly like that . . . only different.”


All righty, then. I try to keep it in mind when I’m deciding on a new project.

Back to where I got the idea for MAKE ME HOWL.

Answer: From Marilyn Pappano.

No, I’m not saying Marilyn’s snappish. Not one bit! And I’m not saying she can shift to a wild woman at the drop of a growl. (Although it might be possible . . . )

What happened is she let me read the first chapter of a trilogy she considered writing about three witchy sisters. I LOVED it. The story was sharp, smart, fast paced, funny and FUN!

Naturally I thought, “I want to write something exactly like that. Only different!”

Something fun, exciting and funny. I wanted to write characters I would enjoy being with everyday. A story about something readers would think they know about, but I wanted to give it a twist.

And a strong heroine.

I didn’t want to write witches. No way I could compete with Marilyn. And I really didn’t want to write about ghosts. Or demons. Or vampires. (Vamps have been just too overdone for me.)

About that time, I remembered one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. I often went to the Melba Theater with Sister Debbie and Marsha Hagberg and one Saturday we watched “The Wolf Man”. (Part of the time we watched through splayed fingers.)

Oh, yeah. That was the direction I wanted to go. A werewolf, but I wanted to make it different.

Easy peasy, right?





♥♥♥ Here’s Jazzy ♥♥♥

Jazzy here. I know, I know. Susan’s been trying to follow the rules and keep me quiet.

Susan: Jazzy, you’re a character. Characters from books aren’t real. They don’t have a life. They can’t impose their will on the author.

Me: Snort! If I’m not real, who’s been talking inside your head all this time? Besides, when have I ever  been quiet? You can ask Bella, my minutes older twin. I came out kicking and screaming and haven’t stopped since.

Susan: You’re right. I give.

Jazzy: So, let’s talk heat. Yes, you heard me right. HEAT. Being a member of the animal kingdom (a werewolf) it’s something I have to deal with once a year. But to be honest, it isn’t pretty. Listen, you think PMS is bad? Ha! Being in heat is killer! (Sometimes, literally.) You can check with Bella on that one, too.

Usually she tries to take me away from my natural habitat when “my time” comes. It might only happen once annually, but even one time can be horrifyingly memorable. And if there’s one thing sister-dearest doesn’t want, it’s for anyone in our everyday life to remember me like that.

This particular time, she dragged me off to Colorado. And she didn’t tell a soul.

* * *

I waited in the car when Bella got back patting my foot in annoyance by the time she started it. “Did they have our reservation?”

“Yes.” When I shifted into blasting-words-mode,why did she speak in slo-mo?

“Full living room? Two bedrooms? Shower or tub?” Rat-a-tat tat.

“Full living room, big screen TV, shower and Jacuzzi tub. But I asked for a one bedroom, two queens.” I could have climbed Mount Everest in the time it took her to finish.

“One? One bedroom?” I screeched. “That’s ridiculous! Why would you ask for one bedroom? You knew I’d want time alone.”

Not only were her words slow, so was her smile and the light that shifted to brighten her eyes. “Of course I knew you’d want privacy, and that’s exactly why I got one bedroom. To protect you from…that.”

Anger exploded in my chest, leaving a prickle of something on my skin. Sweat or bristle, I wasn’t sure. “Who do you think you are? My keeper? My trainer? Did you bring a leash and a muzzle, too?”

Somewhere in a detached part of my mind, I noticed the sun drifting toward the western horizon, turning the snow a delicate shade of apricot while the sky darkened from blue to purple. In just minutes, the apricot would become a dramatic shade of peach, then flame to burnt orange while the sky would shift to indigo.

Bella put the car in park.

“Let’s get unloaded. Fast.” I shoved open the door and rushed to the back to grab our bags. Not bothering to wait for her, I snatched the suitcases, slammed the door with a hipshot and headed for the entrance.

Bella hurried to catch up. “Let me take something.”

“Just get the doors.” I marched on, trying to expend a bit of my scorching energy.

“This one. Room 111.”

I gave a growl of acceptance, low and deep. One, one, one. The only one. I was alone. Oh, there’d been others. My maternal grandmother, for instance. And probably her grandmother. But for now, I was the only. Lost in a world of snow.

And growing very, very hungry.

By the time we were in the room, the fur was shoving its way through my skin. Knowing how horrified Bella became during my transformations, I excused myself as if I were going to the bathroom, which was off the bedroom. As I walked into the room, I saw my salvation. A door to the outside world.

Hoping Bella wouldn’t enter anytime soon, I luxuriated in my change. Strength turned my muscles to steel. No longer did the energy surging through me hurt as if I were an overfilled beach ball. Now it belonged inside me. It made me powerful.

Before I had no choice but to drop to all fours, I opened that door then let the effect of the rising moon take me.

Exhilarated, I raised my face in adulation. With a long howl for Bella, I bounded into the night.

So you can see, being born with the werewolf gene isn’t exactly easy, but at least things don’t get boring for me or my sister. Or you either, I can practically guarantee.





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Product Details

Make Me Howl by Susan Shay  (Jul 23, 2013) – Kindle eBook


All I did was an Amazon search for Make Me Howl and this is what came up. (Or something like it.)

Go ahead. Go to Amazon dot com (  ) click Kindle and put MAKE ME HOWL in the search engine. Go ahead. Try it and see what you find. *grins*

Or if you want you can just click here:



You’ll go right to the page where you can order the book.
Want to know about the book? Well . . . it’s little bit paranormal, a little bit humorous and a lot romance.
How about it? Want a great end of the summer read? Check it out.
And you can still enter to win. Just comment here and tell me what animal you’d morph into if you could be a shape shifter.
How about it?


Happy Birthday, Mama

I had one of those mamas. You know the kind.

She fixed breakfast every day. EVERY DAY. And there was no question. Everyone had to eat, like it or not. Biscuits and gravy, waffles, eggs, bacon and toast, pancakes, Squaw Bread.


She knew where we were every minute of the day and night. If we went somewhere, we had to have permission. And we could only go “straight there and straight back.” No ifs, ands or buts about it.

She knew who our friends were, who we “liked” and who we hung around with. If she didn’t approve, zzzzzip! Gone!

And she made us get out of bed on Sunday morning for Sunday School and church. And every Sunday night and Wednesday night, we were in church. Plus any time anything else was going. Youth group, camp, CIY, YAC. You name it, we didn’t question it. We knew we were going

And she made us work. (I don’t think she knew about child labor laws.) There was no roaming the streets in the summer. Sister Debbie and I painted the entire house when we were barely in our teens. Mom made us get out of bed all summer long before the sun came up and paint!

Besides painting the house, we had chores. Dishes, dusting, running the dust mop, cleaning the bathrooms. No question, we made our beds when we got out. The year I broke my arm, I still had to do chores. (Did you know you could clean the bathroom with only one arm? You can!)

When we weren’t doing chores (or painting the house) we helped with the younger sibs or read a book, but mostly we played outside. I remember asking to go out and play and Mama saying, “It’s too hot.”

“Naw,” we answered. “There’s a little wind. It’ll cool us off.”

“But it’s a hot wind!” She let us play out anyway.

But it wasn’t all work at our house. Mom let us go to the pool every afternoon of the world. We might have to walk there, but we went. She loved to take a picnic out to the falls or to the lake. She made the BEST homemade ice cream ever! She had six kids and made each of us feel as if we were her favorite. (But I really was the fave.)

And when we did something wrong, AFTER we were punished, we often learned she understood why we did it. (And sometimes she didn’t blame us for doing whatever it was.)

Today is the day the best mom in the world was born.

Happy birthday, Mom.

You were the very best mother God ever created.



mama's familyThis is my mama and her all but two of her sibs. Mama is on the far right.

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This! Friday! (Woohoo!!!)

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Smart Women


Have I mentioned MAKE ME HOWL comes out on Kindle this Friday? I’m so excited, I could just scream. Even after all the critiques, edits and reads, I still like this book. Go figure. 🙂

In celebration, I thought I’d post one of my favorite scenes from the beginning of the book.

I have a question at the bottom. Post your answer here and I’ll put your name in a drawing for a prize!


Cool air stirred my hair, tickling the back of my neck and down my spine as I slowly drifted toward consciousness. I was a bit light-headed, and my eyes were all but glued shut. And the really bad part, mouth tasted as if it were full of downtown Dallas dirty cotton.

The morning was fragrant with a light scent. Wildflowers? Unable to imagine where I was, I rolled over then stretched the kinks out of…

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