Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Hop-Along!

Hop-Along!

But not Hop-Along Cassidy, as in the character created by Clarence E. Mulford and played by William Boyd who, btw, was reared in Tulsa. (Clears throat to indicate a big deal.) LOL.

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By Hop-Along, I mean I’m part of a Blog Hop (I added the along!) That means you read mine, then hop back to read Linda Trout’s blog (fantastic writer, in case you’re looking for something new to read) and if you get caught up in the whole “hoppy” thing, jump back to Jackie King’s blog. (I LOVE Jackie. In fact, I want to be her when I grow up.)

Since Linda tagged me, let me tell you about her.

Linda Trout is one of those people I just stand and stare at. (Mentally, that is. My mama taught me better than do really do that.) This woman rides a Harley (her own motorcycle, not just hanging on behind her husband like I used to do) is recently retired from a career in oil (she did all the things I hide from) visits Alaska periodically (yes! I want to go there!) and she Writes! Fantastic! Books!

And she’s GORGEOUS!

Linda Trout, Author

Linda Trout, Author

Be sure to check out her blog about what she writes. This Claremore girl (from Fort Gibson) is more than a little bit interesting! And her newest book, Last Hope, Alaska, will be out August 20th! Watch for it!

You really should check out her other books. They’re great! (I should know!)

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Question, question, questions–

So, Susan Spess Shay, What are you working on?

I’m working on the first story in a series set in Jordan Valley, Oklahoma, called UNSPEAKABLE.

The stories involve the Matthews family. They own a daycare called Gingerbread Giggles. (Mama Matthews’s first name is Ginger, thus the name.) The heroine of this story is Glory Matthews. Her sister is Star. When my hero, Eli Daniels, first meets them, he wonders if their mother was a hippy or just in love with the flag. And he wonders if their brother’s name is Stripes. It’s not. 😀

Hm. So how does your work differ from every other book on the shelf in its genre?

  • It differs because I put Me in my books. Nobody else can do that. (Thank heaven!) They can only put themselves in.
  • I write with a little humor, so you know I don’t take myself or my characters too seriously.
  • Another thing that might be a little different is that I believe in the power of love. I think God created us to be attractive to the opposite sex, so yes, there is–um–sexual attraction in my book. (And having attended a Christian college, I know ministers and Men and Women of the Cloth experience it, too!) 🙂

WHY do you write what you write?

Do you really want to know? (Raises eyebrows with a questioning glance.) I haven’t always written Christian Women’s Fiction, which is what I’m calling my genre.  I used to write Romance. (If you’ve read any of my books, you know what I’m talking about.)

Then one November, I started to do Nanowrimo, which is when you write an entire 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days.

I was doing it. In fact, I’d figured it so I’d have the entire thing finished before Thanksgiving, and I was right on schedule. Then one day I woke up to get to work and it hit me–

“That’s not the kind of book I want to be remembered for.” I never did finish that book, but I did a lot of praying about it after that.

 Well, that’s . . . different. How does your writing process work?

Since I have a day job that I absolutely adore (I work for my daddy with my brother, sister, husband, son, a niece or two, several cousins and lots of friends) and since anything I write at night has to be rewritten, I get up AEAP (as early as possible) fix a pot of coffee and write. I love to wake up at 4:00 a.m. and get with it. I write as many days a week as I wake up in time to do it. (That’s most days.) I write a little longer on Saturdays.

From the beginning of the book: I usually start with a “What If” question.

For Make Me Howl, I thought, “What if werewolves weren’t just crazy monsters? What if it was a genetic thing, passed down from generation to generation? 🙂 And what if my werewolf had a paternal twin sister? Werewolf girl would get the werewolf gene, twin would get the gene for straight hair. It all comes out in the wash.

For my werewolf book, I had to let my imagination go wild! (Pun intended.) Like all wolves, she’d have to go into heat. Right? That was fun to write! LOL. And there had to be a “blessing” to counteract the “curse”, so I gave werewolves affluence. The fun just goes on from there.

For my Jordan Valley series, I wanted to make it easy for me, so I used my hometown as a model. (Who can keep track of maps?) I enjoy humor, so I gave my main family a daycare center, and but none of the women who work there are married or have children.

My favorite ongoing characters are a pair of octogenarian twins who are total opposites. One is the sweetest thing since God created honey and the other is a cranky retired teacher who is only nice if there are kids around. They take in women and children who need help or who need to hide from an abusive husband/father.

Here’s the cranky retired teacher, telling about the time an abusive husband tracked down his wife and broke into their house.

♥ ♥ ♥

“That man just kept coming. He grabbed Sister and was shaking her so hard, I thought he was going to break her bones.” She folded her arms and sat back in the chair. “I had to conk him with Papa’s door stop to get him to quit.”

“You mean a little rubber thing you shove under a door stopped him?” How?

Mrs. Jackson closed her eyes and sighed. “Of course not. Papa was in World War One and he brought back a door stop, made out of iron, that looked like the Eiffel Tower. We used it a lot before we had air conditioning, to keep the door open so we’d have a draft. But with the cooler, we haven’t needed it so much anymore. It got kind of shoved behind the drape next to the door.

“He was yelling and shaking Sister, she was quoting scripture at him and I was slapping him, trying to get him to quit. He shoved my old body off toward the wall, and when he did, I struck my foot on the Tower. Well, he’d gone back to hurting my sister, so I just picked it up and conked him on the head.” The look of pride in her eyes was unmistakable.

He couldn’t blame her, either. “I’ll bet that slowed him down.”

“Yes, it did.” A small smile spread across her face. “Slowed him so much, he still wasn’t conscious when the ambulance got here to take him to the hospital.”

He tried to hide the amusement roiling inside him. “What did the police say?”

“Boyd Hubbard was the policeman that came. I tell you, if I’d known what an idiot he was going to grow into when I had him in first grade, I’d have flunked him for another year or two.” She rolled her eyes heavenward with an irritated sigh. “He told me I might have done real damage to the man. Said the man’s family could file a lawsuit against me. I told him to go back to the police station and look up the Make My Day Law. That jerk should have been glad I didn’t have a gun.”

“Do you remember what scripture Miss Charlotte quoted?”

Mrs. Jackson chuckled. “It’s a funny thing, preacher. The kids staying with us had trouble sleeping because they were scared of the dark, and who could blame them? So Charlotte had been reading the 16th Psalm to them for their bedtime story. When their daddy tracked them down and broke in, he grabbed her and she said all she could think was that eighth verse, ‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.’ When she got to that last part, she was yelling.”

♥ ♥ ♥

Thanks, Linda Trout, for tagging me for this hop. It’s been so much fun!

Now I’m tagging Natasha Hanova, a new friend I met at OWFI for the next hop on June 2nd.

NH_AuthorPhotoLargeNatasha is a YA Paranormal author, a SUPER organized and patient woman (I can attest!) and a chocoholic!

Her book, Edge of Truth, published by Sapphire Star Publishing, is turning a year old in June, so we can hop over there and help her celebrate!

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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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Grave Secrets

When Sara Adams’ infant daughter is abducted, she moves heaven and earth to find her. But six months later, time is running out and Sara turns to the one man she shouldn’t—insurance investigator Morgan Daniels. Dangerously attractive, he’s a threat to more than just her heart, and if she isn’t careful, he’ll unearth secrets better left buried.

Proving Sara murdered her husband is Morgan’s top priority. Helping her find her child is the perfect opportunity to get the proof he needs. But when he starts to think of her as a woman rather than a suspect, she slips under his armor. He can’t trust her. Worse, he can’t trust himself around her.

All evidence points to Sara as a murderer, but Morgan’s gut tells him the evidence is wrong. Is his obsession with her blinding him to the facts? Or is the real murderer still out there…stalking Sara?

You just read about Linda Trout’s first book, Grave Secrets, which is coming out tomorrow. I’m thrilled for her! She’s worked hard and writes a fantastic romantic suspense.

And that’s the point, isn’t it? A good, enjoyable read?

Linda has found the magic to writing, and put it in her book. Check it out. 

Biography

Linda Trout is an award winning author who grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. A degreed accountant, she spent over 20 years in the oil and gas industry before retiring. Now that she’s free of the 8-5 job, she happily spends her time immersed in writing.
Grave Secrets, a contemporary romantic suspense, is her first published novel by The Wild Rose Press. She loves being outdoors, vacationing anywhere there are a lot of trees (mainly Alaska), her numerous cats and dogs and riding her motorcycle. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc, and Tulsa NightWriters.
That’s official, as published on Amazon. But something I’ve noticed lately is the people I know are so much more than what you read about them. The real person is the heart.
And Linda has a beautiful heart. In our writers’ group, Linda is usually the first person to reach out to a visitor. She doesn’t make a show of it, just quietly goes over and sits down with them, makes them feel at home.
She took over our critique group because she’d seen newby writers hurt by harsh critiques, and wanted to stop it from happening.
She doesn’t just ride a motorcycle, she rides a Harley! (I love the deep voice of a Harley, don’t you?) And she doesn’t just have a house full of pets, she and her husband have made them family. When one of her puppers disappeared a couple of years ago, she searched and searched for the dog until it was found.
I think Linda is an amazing woman!
If you’d like to meet Linda–a real live, not self-published (although there’s nothing wrong with that) author in person, you’ll have an opportunity at her book signings.
(And I might just get her to do an interview if she can find time in her busy schedule!)
Mark your calendar–

August 4th (this coming Saturday) at the  Ft Gibson Library from 11:00 to 1:00.

August 25th at Steve’s Sundry on Harvard from 1:00 to 3:00

Sept 15th at Bartlesville Library, Book Festival from 10:00 to 4:00