Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Read ♥ Read ♥ Read

Maybe I’m biased (who? Me?) but I’ve never understood people who didn’t love to read.

When you read you can go anywhere, see anything, be anyone, experience anything at all and every emotion under the sun!

In just the books I’ve written I’ve been accused of kidnapping (TO SCHOOL A COWBOY) a touch psychic (BLIND SIGHT) and a werewolf with a biting sense of humor (MAKE ME HOWL.) Yes, as Jazzy, the werewolf, I could stand on my own two–make that four–feet. 🙂

When I was growing up, I was Will Rogers with a dry sense of humor, Jane Adams who married a president, Jane Addams who started the first child care centers in America, Amelia Earhart, who had such a sense of adventure she built her own roller coaster as a kid and later learned to fly, and Molly Pitcher, whose husband passed out at his cannon during the Revolutionary War, so she took over for him.

In my years (AND YEARS) of reading I’ve played with Dick, Jane and Spot and lived in a harem. I’ve been a pirate, where I learned to sword fight, I’ve fallen in love over and over again with heroes of every ilk, and I’ve explored the west with Louis L’Amour.

I’ve even walked with Jesus.

I can’t think of many places I haven’t read. Under the covers when I was a kid and supposed to be sleeping, the car, a plane, on a train, college libraries, classes, even on the delivery table when my youngest son was born. (The nurse wrestled the book from my hands when the actual delivery happened.)

The greatest gift I ever received or gave someone else was the love of reading. One of my biggest joys in life was taking my younger siblings and later my children to get their own library cards so they could check out any book they wanted. That was a real gift! (And it didn’t cost a dime.)

Have I mentioned I like to read? (Yes, I get a little passionate about it.)

How about you? What do you like to read?



My Heroes have always been . . .

Approx. second half of 1880's poster showing A...

Image via Wikipedia


Does every little kid have them? I know I did.

Like most little girls, my first hero was my dad. Dad married Mom on his 19th birthday. Mom had just turned 18 two months earlier. Two-and-a-half years later, I was born. Daddy was practically a kid himself, but oh! What a great dad he was. (Still is.)

Maybe it was because he was so young, but my memories of him while I was a child are almost all happy ones. He’d carry us to the breakfast table on his shoulders, take us to work with him if we didn’t have school, sing along with Mom when we went just about anywhere in the car.

He was our champion, believed in each of his children and I only saw his temper flash once. That was when #4 and I were nearly run down by a car.

I thought Dad was going to snatch the man out of his car and whip him right there, but that anger came from his fright.

As a kid, my favorite library books were biographies that told mostly about the childhoods of famous people. I took several of them as my heroes. Will Rogers. Jane Addams (born to money, she opened day care centers so poor kids whose moms had to work didn’t have to be left home alone, where without supervision, they often got poisoned, burned or died.)

Annie Oakley, Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Earhart were top favs. Annie, an inspiring legend yet she was real! Susan because she had a great name, and because she thought girls should have the same rights and opportunities as boys (I agreed with that, for sure!) and Amelia because she seemed so fearless.

My very favorite was Molly Pitcher. Molly’s real name was Mary Hays.

From Wikipedia: Mary Hays spent much of the early day carrying water to soldiers and artillerymen, often under heavy fire from British troops.

The weather was hot, over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometime during the battle, William Hays collapsed next to his cannon.

Mary Hays took his place at the cannon. (I always imagined her stepping over him to take his place, more worried about the war than her wimpy spouse.) 

For the rest of the day, in the heat of battle, Mary continued to “swab and load” the cannon using her husband’s rammer.

I loved that story! (Still do!)

I soon found several Biblical heroes (besides Jesus) who I still claim– Deborah, who led the Israelites. Mary, who sat at Jesus’s feet even though her sister Martha tried to shame her into working. And the women who were brave enough to go to prepare Jesus’s body on the third day while the apostles and disciples were hiding and shaking in their boots sandels.

These heroic women were the first to know that Christ had risen!

My latest heroes are closer to home. Sister Amy, who suffered through terrible tragedy and loss, yet has a cheerful disposition every day.

My friend Becki, who heard God’s call and answered it.

My preach and his wife, who’ve been through so much and yet never falter in their walk.

My friend, Suezan, who suffered through breast and liver cancer and has now gone home to be with the Lord.

My friend, Marilyn, who takes the time and trouble to help other (ie: wannabe) writers. 

My husband, who’s lived with me all these years and still likes me! 🙂

And, of course, my dad. Guess you’d call him my forever hero. 

Were you a kid who had heroes? Care to share?