Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Best! One! Ever!

Did you miss me over the weekend? Probably not, unless I work with you (I missed part of Thursday and Friday) or you’re one of my pets. 🙂

I was in OKC at Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc’s annual conference. And I have to tell you, I had a ball!

This was the best conference ever!

Why? Well, to start with, the keynote speaker was Eloisa James.

Eloisa-James

Professor McGonagall aka Eloisa James

She spoke about writing and success and just how to do it. I wish someone had recorded everything she had to say, because it was good!

Rhonda-Penders

This is The Wild Rose Press publisher and my first editor, Rhonda Penders. We celebrated her birthday at the Buzz Session Friday night after the costume contest (I didn’t enter) and Famous Authors’ Dinner.

She’s wearing the book cover necklace I made for her. 🙂

rhonda's-husband,-scott Standing in the door is Rhonda’s husband checking out the session/bd party. Nice guy!

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Another buzz session pic.

famous-authorsThey showed a slide of all the attendees’ books published in 2013, whether purchased by a publisher or self-pubbed. I loved seeing my name up there! 🙂

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Smart Women Crew with Gloria Teague from The Ford.

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Marion, Linda, Gloria, Rhenna, Kathlyn and T. D. Hart.

TD Hart took 1st Place in two categories!

TD Hart took 1st Place in two categories!

First Place Winner, Rhenna Morgan!

First Place Winner, Rhenna Morgan!

And they gave me 1st Place in Romance. (Is that cool or what?)

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And they gave me a $50 check! Believe it or not! 🙂

 

 

 

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Love! To! Read!

I LOVE to read. The fact that I’m a writer might have tipped you off to that little tidbit. I’ve never met a successful writer who didn’t like to read.

I saw on Facebook that a Broken Arrow teacher was honored on an afternoon talk show (I think they said Ellen) and one of my FBF said she wished she’d had a librarian like her. The woman made her want to read.

Aw, man. Don’t you like reading??? My heart hurt for her. (Yeah, I’m weird.)

But that made me wonder . . . why do I love reading?

Was there a teacher who put the reading itch in me? Not one specific one, but in grade school, we had to read 25 books a year.

In second grade, I remember making 25 verbal book reports to the teach. I loved it!

Anyone remember Flicka, Dicka, Ricka books?

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How about Snip, Snap, Snur?

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Not surprisingly, both series were written by the same woman–Maj Lindman. I only recall one book’s story (2nd grade was a long time ago!) but I remember I liked the boy books better than the girl ones. (Hey, riding a sled is a lot more fun than baking a cake, even today!)

While I read those twenty-five books a year, I realized I could become anyone. And I could go anywhere.

I spent an entire Christmas vacation one year reading a chapter book about a girl who owned a horse and the adventures they had. I don’t remember the title, but I remember that book!

In seventh grade, Mrs. Ault read a book to our class (right after lunch) called Rifles for Waite by Harold Keith. I loved listening to her read. The kids in our class disappeared as the story took over.

This is from Wikipedia:

Jeff marches off to Leavenworth from Linn County, Kansas in 1861, on his way to join the Union volunteers. He’s off to fight for the North; his zeal having been fueled by reaction to the guerilla war of “bushwhackers” that was taking place in eastern Kansas.

However, Stand Watie is on the side of the South. We meet many soldiers and civilians on both sides of the war, including Watie’s raiding parties, itinerant printer Noah Babbitt and, in Tahlequah, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) the beautiful Cherokee girl, Lucy Washbourne.

Jeff’s story is notable as he eventually winds up fighting for both the North and the South (while on a special undercover mission) at different times during the conflict while making new friends on each side.

It is also notable for the detailed depiction of contemporary Cherokee life in Indian Territory, including various tribal political factions. During an undercover mission Jeff finds that Captain Asa Clardy of the Union Cavalry is smuggling new Spencer rifles to the Indian forces of Stand Watie.

Keith portrays how Jeff Bussey, in the midst of huge conflicts, had to choose one side or another at various times and how this was not always as simple as it may seem in historical hindsight.

I loved that book. 🙂 Maybe because they visited places in Oklahoma (hey, Grandma lived at Tahlequah!) and not many books at that time did. Or maybe because it was about a kid not too much older than I was who put his life on the line for what he believed. Cool!

Another book memory–The Pink Dress. I LOVED The Pink Dress.

1 a dress

This 1959 book by Anne Alexander is hard to find today. This one is for sale on Amazon for $850! YIKES!!! I won’t be buying it, but it really was a great read for a seventh grader.

The main character was a little older than me and had a boyfriend. One of the first books I read with tons of tension. Will-she-get-the-blame-even-though-she-didn’t-do-it type stuff kept me glued to that book!

I had to see what was going to happen.

Pink Dress was a little dated by the time I read it. In my mind, the boyfriend was a greaser with a ducktail who wore a leather jacket and rode a motorcycle. Even high school bad boys didn’t dress like that anymore. But I felt a little guilty reading it because I knew my mama would never approve of a boy like that! 🙂

Are you a reader?

What books do you remember from your childhood?

 


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I’m 65! (Not My Age.)

Just picked myself up off the floor.

I don’t believe it! This is so cool. Really, cool!

This morning in the Kindle Free Book Store, MAKE ME HOWL is #65. NUMBER SIXTY FIVE!!! I’m in total shock, and doing a Scooby dance. (I’m not sure I can manage a Snoopy Dance this early in the morning.)

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That means out of about  56,844 free books on Kindle I’m #65. WOOHOO!

And I’m #3 in Romantic Comedy. #4 in humor. YAY!

MAKE ME HOWL is a fun book (and apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so.) I can’t take all the credit for it, though. I have a great bunch of critiquers who point out my mistakes, and my editor, Lara Parker, was a great help! (Wow, the things you learn in edits!)

Anyway, wanna see it in ink?? (And so I can remember this miracle.)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

If you haven’t picked up your free copy, do it now! You can always buy the “real” book later.

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Leave me some bloggy love today? (IOW: please comment): I’ll give you a choice.

#1- Do you think it’s stupid to give my book away or do you think it’ll translate later into higher sales?

If you don’t have an opinion about book sales, answer me this–

#2- Should I print out the Amazon page and frame it? 🙂


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Sweet! It’s Free!

ANNOUNCEMENT!

To celebrate the Season 17 return of Dancing with the Stars, MAKE ME HOWL is free on Kindle for the next five days!

HOWWWWWLLLL!

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Okay, it just happens to coincide with that fun show. (Don’t you love Valerie Harper???? And Bill Nye?) But honestly, if you’ve considered downloading MAKE ME HOWL, NOW IS THE TIME!

Because from today (September 17th) until Saturday, (the 21st) IT’S REALLY IS FREE!

(Just yesterday I told someone you don’t get anything free. Sigh. Once more, I was wrong!)IMG_4075

Back to business . . . It’s true! For five days (count ’em. FIVE!) you can own MAKE ME HOWL, and it won’t cost you a thing! Is that cool or what?

I’m pumped. PUMPED! Zip out there right now and “buy” it. Honestly, get one. I want you to!

wolfie

Okay, yes, it’s a werewolf story, but it’s not your normal werewolf story. Even if you usually don’t like stories about those who are vertically challenged, I think you’ll like this one.

And do me a favor? If you download the sweet freebie, please go back to Amazon and do a book review. An HONEST review.

If you don’t like it, I promise not to hunt you down and eat your face. (I can’t vouch for Jazzy, though.)

Oops. Almost forgot to give you the URL. Here it is: MAKE ME HOWL.

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Leave me some bloggy love today–Do you think we’re nuts to give it away? (Yes, talking about the book.) 🙂

These are from some people who’ve enjoyed the story.

Make Me Howl . .  . is a story you can sink your teeth into!” –Larry Talbot

“Great book! It’ll make you shake your tail feather . . . ” –Maleva

“If you don’t read this book, you’ll never know how “fur” the author can go.” –Sir John Talbot.

“It’s a “tail” like you’ve never read before.” –Col. Montford.

Confession: I made those attributes up. Anybody know who they are?

Check it out. 🙂 (Might as well. It’s free!)


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Imagination Station

Have I ever mentioned what a weird imagination I have? It’s s-t-r-a-n-g-e.

To start at the beginning of what I’m talking about, I’ll have to rewind a ways. A few years ago, I decided to write a book about a werewolf. (It’s called MAKE ME HOWL.) But I didn’t want a normal, doom and gloom, dark and terrible werewolf. I wanted a fun, cute, funny werewolf.

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So I did what every fiction writer has to do, no matter what genre she’s writing. I created my own world.

For a while I called it ChickWolf-Lit. Jazzy (my heroine) is a fashion consultant who also happens to be a werewolf. She has the gene, so she was born that way. (Her maternal grandmother was a werewolf, too.)

And since the time she was potty trained, she’s been able to keep from going “animal” most of the time. Even a full moon doesn’t bother her.

The only time she accidently goes “wild” is when she’s out of control. She can shift whenever she wants to, though.

She has a twin sister. The two of them have their own “twin speak” which is telepathic, but it gives Jazzy a grinding headache when they use it.

Here’s a little problem I have. My characters in my books are real to me. (I spend so much time with them, they’re like family.)

There’s one thing I discovered in my world: the gene that causes people to be shape shifters turns them into wolves.

♥ ♥ ♥

A few days ago I joined a paranormal group on Facebook. Most of them are writers, and let me tell you, every one has an imagination to match (or outshine) mine.

So I got to thinking . . . what if several shape shifting writers were in a room together. There would be women in pjs and furry slippers (those who don’t have day jobs) women in business suits (they have high powered jobs and write on the side) women dressed in filmy scarves in wild colors with pink hair (who think big-name authors should look like that) and the rest in jeans and t-shirts. (My uniform of choice.)

Can you see us on couches, in chairs, sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall? And drinks? Yeah, we’d have them. Coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper, wine . . . everyone would bring their own poison. 🙂 (Jazzy and I are DDP girls.)

So all of us are sitting there together, and we get to talking about the shapes our characters change into. The Jazzy in me laughs hysterically.

“You guys must be writing cartoon shape shifters,” she says between gasps and giggles. “Because REAL shape shifters change into werewolves.”

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“Your kind of shape shifters come from a virus that results in a bite from an out-of-control werewolf who’s born with the gene. (My apologies to other shape shifting authors. Once my world is twirling, there’s no stopping it.) “So they have to be werewolves!”

“NO WAY!!!” The bejeweled, bangled, pajama-ed, scarved t-shirted, blue jeaned and pink haired women jump on me.

“I didn’t say that. Jazzy did!” I squeak, trying to be heard.

“Well, give her this from us!” Smack in my eye.

And the battle is on.

♥ ♥ ♥

LOL! This post has gone on much longer and gotten even weirder than I intended.

Does your mind ever get away from you like that? Mine does it all the time because I get to thinking how everyone imagines everything differently. The animals shifters change into, where they come from, how much control they have, everything.

That’s what makes reading so much fun!

BTW: After the battle? Do I imagine myself standing on the heap, hands joined over my head in triumph?

No. Way. (And it’s not pretty.)

Jazzy had a good time, though.


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Got the Answer?

Answers . . .

I asked three questions on the MAKE ME HOWL Facebook page yesterday. Did you know the answers?

Here they are in case you aren’t on Facebook. (I linked to that page in case you are and haven’t “liked” Jazzy yet.)

#1: What’s another name for a lunar eclipse?

Post your answer in comments.

Click here to see if you’re right

#2: What’s the Indian name for the first full moon in January?

Post your answer in comments.

Click here to see if you’re right.

#3: Where do werewolves come from?

Post your answer in comments.

Click here to see if you’re right.

So, how’d you do? Did you have it 100% right? (I’ll be checking comments to see who did.)


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Reviewed by Marilyn Pappano!

I got my first review on Amazon and guess what! It’s by Marilyn Pappano.

SQUEEEEEEE!

What’s a newish writer supposed to do when a she gets a fantastic (FIVE STARS!) review from a New York Times bestselling as well as a Rita ™ winning author?

I don’t know what she’s supposed to do, but I’m screaming it from the roof tops. 🙂

YEAAAAAAAAA!

Pop over to Amazon and read her review. Go ahead, I’ll wait. (If you want to buy it while you’re there, that’s okay, too.) 🙂

So did you read it? Is that cool or what???

In case there’s anyone in the reading world who doesn’t know Marilyn Pappano, she’s a fantastic author who has published 80+ fantastic novels. (She has a new Copper Lake story out called, “Copper Lake Encounter,” which will grab you by the throat! It snatched the breath right out of my lungs with the first four words, “Welcome to my dream.”)

So  . . . I’m using Marilyn’s review the best way I can. I’m sharing it. I made a new header and put it up here (above) and used her words this time.

And I used part of her review on the MAKE ME HOWL Facebook page.  Pop over there and “like” Jazzy’s page if you haven’t. She’ll love it.

BTW: I’m getting ready to do that drawing. If you haven’t signed up to win the prize, comment here about what critter you’d like to shape shift to, given the choice.

Oh, about Jazzy’s story . . . I think you’ll like it. She has quite a “tail!” 🙂