Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Grist Mill


11 Comments

Fall Tripping

Recognize this?

My favorite time to take a road trip is autumn. (Big surprise, huh?) We invited our kids and their honeys to join us over the weekend. (I had lofty dreams of taking family photos, too.) It didn’t work out the way I wanted.

#3 son had another commitment, #2 son couldn’t come until Saturday, and his wife couldn’t come at all, but #2 son and his wife were there. We had a great time!

I love hanging with someone who has great taste.

We saw some beautiful foliage. Have I mentioned I like fall leaves?

BEE–

–YOU–

–TIFUL!!!

Most of you probably know, I’m talking about Wareagle. So many great ideas. So many I want thats! (So many, “I can do thats!”)

Wareagle developed around a grist mill. (That’s the water wheel that turns the millstone inside.) There’s a restaurant in the top of the mill, but we never get close to it during the craft fair. It’s much too crowded. After all, it’s been going on for 59 years!

It’s set in a gorgeous landscape. I love this river.

 There’s an old one-lane bridge that crosses it. The fair is on both sides, and so much fun!

Of course, there were a few things I thought were just too cute to ignore.

Anyone have a spare horseshoe I can borrow?

By the end of a day at Wareagle, I’m always exhausted. But by next year, I’ll be ready to go again. 😛

I’ve talked since the last time we went to Wareagle about the witch’s brooms nearly all the women (besides me) were carrying. G-Man insisted I buy one this time. (I’ll be adding a bat to fly nearby, and maybe a spider.) When we got it, he suggested I fly it to the car. 🙂

I told him I would, except we didn’t have a long enough extension cord.

I bought this doll from Polka Dot Pig. Trouble is, she doesn’t have a name.

 Want to help me name her?


6 Comments

We Hit a Bonanza!

Oh, my stars! We had so much fun yesterday. We met Butch, Sundance, the guys from “Cowboys and Aliens” and Ed Harris! Actually, WE didn’t meet them, but we met people who not only met them, they worked with them.

I knew my friend, Cathy Carmichael Johns, had been to Santa Fe a few times, so I asked her what we should do while we’re here. She told us, “Bonanza Creek Ranch is not to be missed!” so first thing we did yesterday morning was drive out to BCR. We pulled into the ranch house. It looked like we might be in the wrong place, so we didn’t stop but instead pullout back out and drove down the road a little ways.

The owner’s name and phone number was on a sign by this locked gate, so I tried to give her a call. While my phone was ringing, she pulled in next to us!

Imogene Hughes is so nice! Naturally. She was born in Okie-Land, so how could she be anything else?

When she pulled in, I laughed and asked, “Are you Imogene?” We had a great talk, then she called a guy who works for her and asked him to give us a tour. He seemed more than happy to take us around.

And guess what! Remember Cholo in Lonesome Dove? That was him!!! His real name is Jack Caffrey, and he gave G-Man and me a tour of Bonanza Creek Ranch, where lots of movies are made.

This is Jack–aka Cholo. He’s an actor with a bunch of credits and an agent! What a nice man. I asked a ton of questions (big surprise) and he kept saying, “It’s isn’t real. Remember, it was just a movie.

He showed us Clara’s house on Lonesome Dove. And the pond where they had the picnic. And the barn and corral. I’m telling you, it was cool!

We walked on the street where the aliens attacked the town in “Cowboys and Aliens.” (It was SO COOL!)

 Picture from the Bonanza Creek Ranch website.

We went into the barn from “The Astronaut Farmer“. We saw where they made the new “3:10 to Yuma“. They also made parts of “John Carpenter’s Vampires” on her ranch.

When we got back, we walked to the Plaza and looked in windows and at gorgeous Indian jewelry. Want to talk about a group of talented people. Oh, my stars! Today I’m going back to buy some.

Maybe. 🙂

Have you been to Santa Fe? What was your favorite part?


2 Comments

Plethora Cringe

Let me preface today’s post by telling you it’s written tongue-in-cheek. (Since I’m writing this instead of speaking about it, would that be thumb-in-cheek?) Although the word makes me cringe, I promise I won’t pummel anyone who uses it. Very much.

There are few words I won’t use when writing (if I can help it.) Most of them are vulgar.

Today’s word, though, isn’t vulgar. At least a vulgar word has its uses–to shock or startle the reader or to show the character of the person using the word.

Today’s word is just useless. I mean, come on. It’s a stupid word. Okay, maybe not a stupid word, but an unnecessary one.

Today’s word? Plethora. (Bet you saw that one coming.)

According to Dictionary.com–

noun–overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance.

There are tons of much better words to use instead of plethora. Try deluge, flood, glut, many, much, overabundance, overflow, overkill, overmuch, plenty, profusion, superabundance, superfluity, surfeit or surplus.

Usually “a lot” will do the trick.

Yeah, yeah, I know. There’s an unwritten law that says all newby writers must use plethora somewhere in their work. Even if it’s never published. Even if it causes critique partners to scream and run the other way. Even if it makes the hair stand up on my neck and my ears bleed.

Much to my shame, I have used it myself, in one of my first manuscripts. (Hangs head.) I had my heroine, whose name I can’t remember, walk into a house, look around and see a plethora of doilies.

Continue reading


2 Comments

The Secret to Success

Pacejka Magic Formula Curve

Image via Wikipedia

Today is my Romance Writers Ink meeting. First one of the year! Chuck Sasser is our speaker (thanks Linda T for asking him!) and I can’t wait to hear his program.

I look forward each month to our meeting. Love those women at RWI! When we’re all talking about what’s going on in the writing world, the noise level can get a little loud.

That’s a good thing!

I can’t wait to catch up.

I try to be encouraging to the newer members. Especially those who’ve submitted to critique. It’s hard to put your work out there. You have to let others, who may not know as much as you, tell you what’s wrong with it without arguing. And they’re usually right. Ouch!

Then you have to smile and say thanks!

Writing isn’t easy, even though everyone who made it through first grade can do it. To be a real writer you have to work at it a lot! (I do, anyway.)

I’ve noticed over the years how easy it is for people to get discouraged and quit.

Many who join a writers’ group tend to think they’ve got writing figured out. Most of them know way more than I did when I started! (Probably more than I do now. LOL)

But there’s more to it than just getting the grammar right or getting a story on paper. There’s no magic formula, no matter what the big boys say.

For most of us, it’s not something you can toss off on a weekend and send out in the mail on Monday morning to make a truck load of money. (Although you’ll hear stories about “my friend who did.”)

Very few people get rich writing, but there are those who make a nice living. Not a lot, but some. 🙂

I know the secret to success. (In addition to learning all you can and putting yourself in the best position you can.) Whether you want to be a writer, an artist or even a dentist.

Here’s the secret:

Keeptoitness. (Yep, that’s a Susan word.)

The-little-engine-that-could action. Tenacity. The ability to keep working at something, even when you’ve failed again and again, and you don’t know why you have to keep trying.

But you do. You have to. And you will.

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it. — Tennessee Williams 


4 Comments

Secrets

I love writing. It’s one of my favorite things to do. 🙂

I figure it stems from all those years of pretend when I was a kid. I never was a big one for games. Although I played, and enjoyed, a lot of them, I could live without them.

But not without “play like”. It just wasn’t in me. If I climbed a tree with a bunch of kids, I was ready to turn that tree into apartments and make up a story about living there. If we played in a car, we were taking a road trip to California. (I still have never been there, although I’d love to go sometime.)

As an adult during lulls in life, I often find myself making up stories–either about the people around me or my destination.

Once when my man and I lived in Punkin Center, we went to eat at a restaurant several miles out of town, nearly to the Kansas border. While we were eating, I noticed a table of three people, a man and two women.

Maybe it was the location of the restaurant (there was nothing else around for miles but farm land) or the different ethnicity of those three, but I had quite a story made up in my head about them. Talk about exciting! (Drug trafficking? International spy ring?)

When we got up to leave one of the women, who was very pretty and slender with her hair cut in the latest style, started shout-whispering my husband’s name. “Gary! Gary!”

Poor guy didn’t hear a thing, but I did. “I think someone is talking to you.”

Turns out, sadly, she was a girl he went to high school with, who’d moved to PC to work at a large oil company. My story for her life was a lot more fun. LOL.

As much as I like to write, I like reading even better!

I love books–the ones made of paper AND the digital ones. I get so excited when a new book by an author I enjoy comes out.

And one of those authors is Marilyn Pappano, who writes for Harlequin. Her most recent book was called, “Copper Lake Secrets” and with me it’s a big hit!

   From Amazon

Marilyn has a writing style that’s unique. Her words flow as smooth as honey, and while she’s pouring visions into your head, she smacks you with emotions that will make you laugh out loud, cry real tears or want to punch the guy in the book. Hard!

Unlike some authors, Marilyn doesn’t start this hero and heroine out disliking each other. The conflict in the story comes from within the character (like real life!) and, for most of the book, seems insurmountable.

There is a ghost in the book, but I view it as a tool Marilyn uses to give her book an interesting twist.

If you haven’t read “Secrets” order it now. It’s a fantastic read from a wonderful author and a darn nice lady.