Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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A Real Live Texican!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not, but I have a special place in my heart for Baja Oklahoma. (also known as Texas.) My mama graduated from high school there and one of her favorite sisters as well as one of her favorite niece live there. What’s not to love about Texas? And I have another reason I like the place–a really sweet friend lives there that I’d love for you to meet. And we just might get a peek into her office. 😀 Here she is . . . Linda Broday! 20150412_155251_resized I first met Linda when she won a contest our writers’ group hosted. I asked her if she could come up and speak to our group, and she happily drove up in her motor home at her own expense! Talk about a great lady! Me- Do you always write in your office? If not, where else do you write.

Linda: I always write in my office. I require a large monitor because I have vision problems and need everything enlarged. And too, the atmosphere in there inspires my creativity. That is so very important, especially since I’m having to write three books a year. Just crazy. But I love this journey I’m on and want to soak up everything along the way.

Linda Broday's office Me- Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever written?

Linda: Outdoors on my patio. I love to listen to the birds chirping and the fresh air. Nature provides great inspiration.

Me- Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever written?

Linda: Once I had to write in the car so I could meet a deadline. That’s probably the strangest for me, but I also wrote in the hospital when my husband was fighting cancer. I didn’t want to leave his side, especially since his time was short.

Me- Oh, wow, Linda. I’m wowed that you could think well enough to write your name, much less an entire book. You’re amazing! Me- Do you do anything before you write? Light a candle? Put on music? Waltz around the house?

 Linda: I put a low-calorie snack in my desk drawer for later because I seem to burn a lot of energy when I write. (Maybe it’s all the chase scenes and gunfights or it could be the tender love scenes. Hmmmm.) Sometimes I light a candle and breathe the fragrance. Peach is my favorite. Sometimes I meditate for a few minutes. Then I close my eyes and envision the scene I’m going to write in my head. I see it like a movie with my characters doing the acting. Once it’s clear in my mind, I begin to type. Candled

Me- Do you write every day?

Linda: Yes, I have to because it keeps me in touch with my and story. If not, I have to go back and read the last chapter or two to remind me where I am. I don’t want to have to lose time. I want to sit down and get right into my writing.

Me- What’s the atmosphere in your office?

Linda: It’s calm and peaceful. Everything is in its place. I can’t write with a lot of clutter. I have a lot of my favorite books around me. It’s as though the words of the authors I love flow around the room and drop into my head. Since I write western romance, I have things with a western-y feel sitting around and on the walls. All of it adds to the atmosphere that I need in order to create. _jpg

Me- If you play music while you write, how do you choose it?

Linda: I don’t play music. I tried once but it’s very distracting to me. I need silence. 20150412_130849_resized_1

I love the buffalo picture!

 Me- If you could have your dream office, what would it be?

Linda: Oh, I love this! The sky is the limit and I don’t have to worry about the cost. Here goes: One whole wall would be floor to ceiling windows that allows light so spill in, creating lacy images on the floor. I would look out into a beautiful garden. A small indoor waterfall would sit in one corner, filling the room with gentle, soothing splashes on the rocks. On the opposite wall would be a huge desk with  research books at my fingertips. Indoors flowers would fill every space and infuse the room with wonderful fragrance. The flooring would be dark, rich wood with colorful rugs everywhere. I would have a sofa with lots of pillows where I could take a nap when I wanted. Bookshelves from floor to ceiling crammed with all kinds of books. Oh, man, I don’t want to wake up from this dream! It’s too nice. Now, I just need to find a rich bachelor (preferably a cowboy) who yearns for love…..

Me- How did you get started writing?

Linda: I read a romance book (can’t recall the name right name right now) and hated the ending. I sat down and rewrote it the way I wanted. Doing that gave me confidence that I could write my own books. The first attempt was start and stop. It took me five years. But I did it and that was the best feeling in the world. One led to another and I was on a roll. Untitled-4

Me- Did you struggle as a new writer or were you blessed with sales from the word go?

Linda: I’ve had wonderful luck and I thank God for that. I began winning writing awards with my first book, Knight on the Texas Plains. Sales were pretty decent and set the stage for the second release. I was lucky though in that I already had an online presence before I published. That really helped. Having a following is priceless. Untitled-1

Me- What’s your process for starting a new book?

Linda: Once an idea (or sometimes only the characters) are in my head I let it steep like a good cup of tea. Usually for about a week. After I have their names and know a little about them, I do a loose outline. Then I do a little research about some of the details of the story. I don’t indulge in a lot of pre-writing stuff though. I like to sit down and just let the story unfold. See where the characters take me. I love the surprises that come along the way.

Me- Are there any how-to books you recommend for writers?

Linda: Painting With Words by Rebecca McClanahan – this is a great book that I think every writer should read no matter where they are in their writing. Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict by Cheryl St. John – this book covers almost every aspect of writing. I fully recommend it. 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt 20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias Writers’ Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood

Just click on the link to find the book. 😀 Me- Do you write in more than one genre? Ever write under another name?

Linda: Except for one pirate story when I was first learning to write, I’ve always written western historical romance and never under another name. That pirate story will NEVER see the light of day. It’s awful.

LOL! Me- What piece of advice do you have for a newbie struggling writer?

Linda: Never, ever give up. Perseverance is the key to success. When something doesn’t work, try again. Take time to write the very best story that you possibly can. Find a good critique group and let them help you. Have patience and don’t get in a big rush because throwing a poor quality story out there will only hurt you.

Me- What are your latest books?

 Linda: My latest is a series called Bachelors of Battle Creek.  The first book – Texas Mail Order Bride – came out in January of this year and the second, Twice a Texas Bride, will be out next month, May 5th. The third – Forever a Texas Bride – comes out in December. (Not available yet for preorder.) Having all three of a series come out in the same year took a whole lot of fast writing. I’m so excited about this series that is about the deep bond that formed between three boys in an orphanage that follows for the rest of their lives. Each, for different reasons, have decided they will never marry. They’re so committed to remaining single that they form the Battle Creek Bachelors’ Club. In the first one, rancher Cooper Thorne thinks his life is finally on an even keel. He has his land and the ranch he wants and that’s enough. He gets the shock of his life one day when Delta Dandridge steps off the stagecoach claiming to be the bride he sent for. Cooper is fit to be tied and promptly sets her straight, then offers to pay her way to wherever she wants to go. She refuses to take a red cent and gets a job in the mercantile. He can’t keep from running into her at every turn, reminding him of everything he’s desperately trying to forget.

Me- Those sound wonderful!

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Me- Do you have anything in the works?

Linda: I’m currently writing the first book in a brand new series called Men of Legend. It’s about three brothers who carry the last name of Legend. The first one is about Texas Ranger Sam Legend. After getting injured, he’s trying to protect a woman on the run and get home to his family’s Lone Star Ranch. Only an outlaw gang is trying to keep him from it. I’m having so much fun with this. Lots of twists and turns and I’m never exactly sure where the story is going to go.

I love reading a series, and yours sound like so much fun. I can’t wait to read them! Thank you so much, Linda, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Looking forward to seeing you again! So, guys, anything you want to ask Linda? What time her books are set in? Or maybe what conferences or classes or organizations she recommends? All you have to do is ask. She’ll be more than happy to answer!

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Come With Me To HollyWorld!

Holly Jacobs, one of the nicest and most prolific writers I know, is letting us into her office. I love Holly. She’s one of those people who’s always willing to help out if she can. She’s just the kind of author I want to be when I grow up! LOL.

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to get a peek into her office. Shy person that I am, I asked, and guess what! Sweet Holly came through. 🙂

Me: Hey, Holly Jacobs! Would you share with us a little bit of the behind the scenes of your writing life?

Holly: Sure. What would you like to know?

Me: This might seem like a silly question, but do you write in your office?

 Holly: I used to write almost exclusively in my office.

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Holly cont: But as the kids got older and the house got quieter, I started writing in the backroom on the couch.  The dogs like it better.  Normally they’re right next to me as I write…they were cuddled in the recliner when my daughter took this picture!

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Me: Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever written?

 Holly: Really, writing on the couch in front of the fireplace is pretty near perfect!

Me: Okay. Well, tell us about the best cool weird place you’ve ever written. Dungeon? Mountain peak? Bottom of the ocean floor?

 Holly: Uh, I don’t know if I have any of those.  But I’ve written poolside, at the beach, in a hotel, in a car, at a sporting event…  I’m not sure those are weird though.  Now I’ll be looking for someplace weird to write!  LOL

Me: Cool! Be sure and share it with us when you do.

Me: Do you have a ritual you follow before you write? Light a candle? Dance naked in the moonlight?

 Holly: I’m not a naked dancing in the moonlight type.  LOL.  I tend to get up very early and answer any email and visit my social media.  Then it’s breakfast, a walk with the dogs and then I write.

Me: Do you write every day?

 Holly: Yes.  Not as much on the weekend.

Me: What’s the atmosphere in your office?

Holly: Well, when these pictures were taken, I was just getting home from a trip, so the actual office was a bit chaotic.  But this time of year sitting on my couch, it’s peaceful. The house is quiet other than the crackling of the fire.  I have a slight Yankee Candle addiction, so frequently there’s a candle burning.  The dogs are snuggled close.  It’s darn near perfect.

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Me: Do you play music while you write? If so, how do you choose the music?

 Holly: Nope. I can write in the midst of family chaos, but I prefer the quiet.  I do tend to have songs that remind me of my books.  Sometimes I listen to those repeatedly as I mull.  For instance, August’s SuperRomance, Her Second-Chance Family, has a troubled teen, and Sister Hazel’s Concede was my go-to song.

Me: If you could have your dream office, what would it be?

 Holly: I pretty much have it.  When we moved here a decade ago, I went from a huge office, to this one which has two doors so it feels like a glorified hallway.  And I lost so many bookshelves.  My husband gave me such a lovely gift.  He had a carpenter come in and put in these beautiful floor to ceiling bookshelves on two of the walls.  It’s so amazing to have everything close at hand. And frankly, every time I see those shelves I realize how much this man gets me.  He’s such an awesome husband!

DJHollyMe: I’ve heard about Holly’s wonderful husband for years, but I’ve never met him. Naturally, I asked for his picture, so she sent me this from their recent trip to Disney World. Is that cute or what? 😀

Me: Tell me, Holly. How did you get started writing?

Holly: My youngest was getting to a school age and I realized that I might need a real grownup job.  I thought about all the things I might enjoy doing, and writing was the answer that kept buzzing around in the back of my mind.  But it was scary saying it.  It was such a long shot…such a dream.  Saying I want to write out loud was one of the bravest things I ever did.  And I was lucky my husband supported me from the get-go.

Me: You and your husband make an amazing team! I wish every writer had that kind of support!

Me: Are there any how-to books you recommend for writers?

 Holly: I loved Anne Lamott’s, Bird by Bird.

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 Hey, TD Hart–Holly has a guitar in her office, too. Wonder if she uses it like you do?

Me: What’s your process for starting a new book?

Holly: An idea starts nibbling at me and I start jotting notes and before I know it, that idea has become a story.  I don’t know how to explain it.  It’s like magic.  Or maybe like farming!  LOL  Yes, I mean, there’s this tiny kernel and it becomes something so much bigger.

Me: Did you struggle as a new writer or were you blessed with sales from the word go?

 Holly: I was lucky in that my early stuff sold.  I sold a lot of short stories, and then some books…and I’ve been writing steadily ever since.

Me: You write in more than one genres and under more than one name. Can you tell us a little about that?

 Holly: I write as Holly Jacobs and write, straight up romantic comedy, some sweet contemporary romance and family dramas.  Then I branched out a did a comedic mystery series with a splash of romance (Maid in LA Mysteries) and most recently I’m writing blends of women’s fiction and romance.  That’s what April’s Carry Her Heart is, and last year’s bestselling Just One Thing was.  I’m enjoying these stories that are a women’s journey…that has romance in it.

It might seem that I jump around a lot, but really whether it’s a comedy or a drama, a mystery or women’s fiction, all my books are about people…about love.

Me: And you do a wonderful job of it!  What advice do you have for a newbie struggling writer?

Holly: My favorite piece of advice is write something—anything—every day.  For me, making writing part of the rhythm of my daily life!

Me: Thank you so much for letting us visit you and your office, Holly! I can’t wait to read your next book.

Holly came to Oklahoma one year to speak at our writers’ retreat, and I enjoyed that retreat more than any other one I can remember!

Holly-&-Linda

This is Holly with Linda Trout, whose office you’ve already visited, at the retreat at Grand Lake. 🙂

You guys can get to know Holly better at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter @hollyjacobs1 .  And if you don’t read her already, check out her books. You’re going to love them!


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Linda Trout’s Closet

Let me explain–

There’s this thing about me. I think people are fascinating . (ie: Everybody has A Story!)

I might have mentioned, I’m not only a writer, I’m also a reading knitter (or a knitting reader.) Naturally, I like to read about other people’s lives. I’ve suffered mightily because most knitting magazines only have patterns, nothing about the knitters who created them.

There is one TV show I watch about knitting. This past season, they advertised they’d changed their format to include a segment that was about studio to studio, I was so excited! I thought we’d get knitting area tours of their homes. I hoped they’d show us the whys and how-I’s of their lives.

Again, disappointment! Turns out, it’s just a segment done with the host in one place, the guest in another, but nothing about the guest’s home or knitting area or how they make life work while knitting.

Now that’s a real a bummer. 😉

So I started wondering, are there other people like me? People who like to see behind the scenes and inside the lives around them? Where people (writers) work, how they work and why?

Ummm, could be!

So I decided to take up the slack.

(♪♫ Fanfare! ♪♫) Let me introduce to  you to–

 Linda Trout’s Closet

linda-at-her-deskI’ve introduced Linda to you before. She’s one of those nice ladies who is really gorgeous and talented and writes tension filled books. She writes suspense and has two books and a novella to her credit!

Her most recent release is Last Hope Alaska.

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It’s a fabulous read! (If you click on the title, it’ll take you to the place where you can buy it, and I’ll get the credit!)

I’ve never been in Linda’s home, so I asked her where she writes.

Linda– “My office is a former walk-in closet that’s shaped like an L. The ‘L’ part is used as storage…has a set of shelves that are loaded down w/blankets, extra pillows, etc.

 

Me: Where are some other places you write?

Linda–“When I’m at home, my office is the only place I write. I make it a point to not write outdoors. I’d be too much like, “Ooh! A squirrel!” Soon the writing would be totally forgotten as I can find all sorts of things to do in the yard.”

Me: What’s the atmosphere like?

Linda– “It’s grand central station. Cats come in to bug me to pay more attention to them. One wants in my lap and another wants me to rub her belly. The credenza is packed full of writing stuff, a lot of which could be pitched so the drawers would open easier. As I said before, the ‘L’ is a storage area. Suitcases, old press kits that the lady from the Tulsa World brought to our meeting that time, tote bags from conferences, bedding, office supplies, table decorations for book signings, business and personal receipts. You name it, it’s probably stuffed in there. LOL.”

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“I always have a glass a sweet tea sitting next to the computer and a bag of cinnamon roasted almonds on the shelf for a ‘brain’ snack.”

linda's-quilts

“You can see some of my contest certificates hanging on the wall as well as a couple of quilts. One, my MIL made for us as a thank you for putting a new roof on her house a couple months after my FIL passed away. The other is a Yo-Yo quilt top my maternal grandmother made for me when I was a teenager.”

Me: So, do you have a ritual or something you do to start your writing time? Light a candle, play your sound track, bite the head off a chicken?

Linda– “Sorry. No chicken sacrifices. Unlike a lot of writers, I don’t play music, either. I do my best writing at night when all is quiet, the cats have settled down-or gone outside, hubby has turned off the TV and gone to bed. All the lights are out except for the one in my office (we have a very open concept home). The office is just around the corner from our bed and even though the man is out like a light 90 seconds after his head hits the pillow, I still try to be quiet. I guess this helps to center me so I can focus. It’s amazing the plot points I get figured out after 10pm.

Me: That is amazing, because I’m out like a burned down candle stub after 10 pm.

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Linda– “Oh, and I always work in sweats in the winter, and shorts and a t-shirt in the summer. Comfort all the way! LOL.”

Me: Okay,  so where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever written?

Linda– “It really isn’t a weird place, but I once wrote several hundred words on a Dana on my way to Alaska for vacation. Then I wrote while sitting on the bed and looking out of the window of our B&B and watching a pair of Bald Eagles teaching their chicks to fish.”

 Me: That’s so cool! (Not sure I could stay in and write with all that going on.)

Linda adds: “I’m pretty plain Jane, I suppose, compared to a lot of other writers. Too bad I don’t dance around in colorful outfits, blaring music that could wake the neighbors 10 acres over. My quieter side (some would say my inner psycho, since I write suspense) seems to be where my stories come from. Hmm I write about killers and I do my best writing when it’s dark outside. What does that say about me?”

 

Me: It says you’re a darned interesting lady! I knew there was A Story there!

So, anybody else have a question for Linda? Anything you want to know such as how many hours she writes each week, how long it takes her to write a book, does she take her characters from real life or what her favorite part of the process?

All you have to do is ask! I’m sure she’ll be glad to answer. 😀

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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.

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“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.”

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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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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.

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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.

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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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Transitions

I have to tell you about a book I’m absolutely loving. I think you will, too.

The book is called, “Transitions,” by Becki Hawkins, a dear friend I got to know when I lived in Pryor Creek.

Becki is one of the most beautiful women I know–both physically and spiritually. I thank God I had the opportunity to get to know her each time I think of her.

 Looks like a movie star, doesn’t she? She’s not. She’s simply one of the nicest people I know–to everyone she meets. Bar none.

And she’s a fantastic story-teller!

This is Becki with her hubby. Really good guy! They’re one of those couples who make you wonder if they were both always that nice or if one had learned about nice from the other. She mentions him a time or two in her book. 🙂

This is her book. It’s wonderful. So good, I’m running late today, and it’s all Becki’s fault! (G-Man nearly missed breakfast because I was so engrossed in Transitions.)

For most of her career, Becki was a hospice nurse. But these are anything but sad stories. They’re delightful! Wonderful accounts of the souls she met during the years she helped those who were about to die and the families who go on.

I can’t wait to read the rest of her book. I want to see if she included the stories I remember–such as the man who described the angels that were filling his room just before he went Home. When Becki told us that story, I so wished I could have been there to hear first hand what he was seeing!

Even her chapter titles are delightful. Coon Hounds and Chickens, Home To Be With My Boy, As Mean As A Snake, Mink Coat And Tennis Shoes, as well as some that are heart touching–The Black Sheep, The Spirit of the Home, and Do You See Them? (I’m going to pop over and see if that’s the account of the man who saw the angels.)

Please, please, please pop over to http://ladyhawkpublishing.com/ and order her book. You have to click SHOPPING on the right side of the page to order the book, but if you scroll to the bottom of the home page, you can see Becki talking.

She’ll even autograph it personally before it’s mailed to you. After you fill out all the pertinent information (where to send it, etc) there’s a box that says, Comments/Special Delivery Instructions. Ask for her autograph there.

Ps: All pictures swiped from Becki on Facebook.


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Contest Winners!

A couple of days ago, I promised you some exciting news. Today, I can share it with you!

A few months ago, I entered my WIP (work in progress) in my chapter’s unpublished contest. I’m published, but the rules allowed me to enter in a category in which I haven’t published. So I did. 🙂

My story is Christian Women’s Fiction. I’m new at writing it and since my fantastic critique partners don’t read a lot of it, I thought this would be a good way to get some feedback. And (fingers crossed) get the story out of the slush pile and into an editor’s hands.

While we were at the romance writers retreat, the contest’s finalists were announced.

2011 WHERE THE MAGIC BEGINS FINALISTS

HISTORICAL

Wherever You Roam by Kimberly Keys
Lady Catherine’s Secret by Sheridan Edmondson
The Madonna of Pisano by MaryAnn Diorio

 ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

Deception by Jennifer Beane
Don’t Look by Susanne Frost
Legally Mastered by Sarah Rose Ahmad

 DARK PARANORMAL

Silk by Louise Cusack
Dark Bringer by Brenda Nelson-Davis
* The Hunt for Home by Lorenda Christensen *

LIGHT PARANORMAL

Medusa, A Love Story by Sasha Summers
Precious Jewels by Mary Behre
* Tears of the Sun by Jackie Kramer *

 SENSUAL SERIES

* The Slipper Fits by Sandra Wagner *
* Sex, Lies and Apple Pie by Lynn Somerville *
* The Last Refuge by Kathy Hix *

 SINGLE TITLE

A Little Bit Crazy by Faye Hughes
Balancing Act by Pamela Gibson
Captivating Ella by Jennie Jones

 SWEET SERIES

Love in Bitterroot Valley by Jessica Keller
Built to Last by Sherri G. Early
* Dragonfly by Susan Shay *

 * Denotes RWI Member *

Did you make it all the way to the end? That’s my story. Dragonfly. (WOOHOO!)

BTW: RWI has one hard and fast rule, which has no exceptions. One member of RWI cannot judge another member’s entry. That way we protect ourselves against whispers that we might be less than honest.

You know, though, that everyone who entered is a winner. They got three (at least) great critiques of their work. They got their toe wet in the submission pool. And they started toughening their hide for a future in the publishing world, which just about any writer will tell you ain’t easy.

So congratulations to everyone who entered! And best of luck to all who finalled. We’re all winners!

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