Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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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.”

linda's-desk

“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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Warning: Attack Bird on Duty

You’ve reached the home of Susan, G-Man, Molly and Kenny, the attack bird.

That’s what my answering machine should probably say. (It really doesn’t.)  Or maybe it should be  stronger–

You’ve reached the Shays. Warning–we have the world’s meanest bird.

Do they have warning signs for birds, like they do for dogs?

Attack bird on duty. Enter at your own risk!

This is Kenny. He LOOKS like a mild-mannered, unassuming cockatiel, doesn’t he? Don’t be fooled. He’s not!

 He’s mean. If you get too close, he’ll raise his wings and hiss at you. Then he’ll squawk and rush at you, teeth beak bared and ready to bite off a chunk.

We didn’t make him mean. He came to us, by way of our son who was doing some work on a woman’s computer. She said Danny could have the bird, but having too many critters in his house already, #1 passed him on to his dad.

His name was Penny when we got him. Penny? PENNY?

Anyone can tell he’s a male. He’s cheeks are bright and beautiful, much too pretty to be a girl bird. And I understand female birds lay eggs, whether there’s a male bird around or not. So G-Man changed his name to Kenny, after Kenny on South Park. Why?

Kenny McCormick

Kenny McCormick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kenny McCormick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You never saw SP Kenny’s entire face, he mumbled so you couldn’t understand him and he died every week. We figured that was perfect for this bird.

The original owner had kids who’d poked at and teased the poor bird until he had to learn to protect himself.

While I don’t call Kenny a pet (you really should be able to pat your pet, right?) we’ve been good to him. We give him delicious food, treats and we even found a way to keep his water clean. (At first, he thought the water bowl was a toilet bowl. We went through several watering systems before we found one he couldn’t foul.)

We buy him toys, and if there’s any way, he’ll eat them. Once we got him a swingset, and he chewed on the pieces until it fell apart and collapsed to the floor of his cage. He’s eaten through several perches.

And one time when Molly got hold of him, we pulled him from the jaws of death and rushed him, wet and sagging, back into his cage where he shivered for a day or two. Before long, though, he got his spirit back.

He’s smart, though. Even with the ceiling fan on, he’s never flown into it and never gone out the door, when I’ve left it open.

And he has a few good points.

He’s a great alarm. When G-man leaves the bedroom to come down for breakfast, Kenny starts squawking. (I imagine he’s yelling, “Pop! Pop!” in bird talk.)

And he’s a great whistler. He barks, meows and has a does a wolf whistle. 🙂 Danny can get him to show off any time he wants, and I figure that’s because he’s the rescuer. G-Man and I are just his caretakers.

Well, G-Man is.

I don’t like having that sharp beak snapping at me.


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Molly Our Dolly

Have you met Molly?

She’s the Queen of the Castle in these parts.

Molly doesn’t mind posing, as long as I’m quick with my pic.

When I adopted her from PAWS several years ago, she was a rescue dog. We know nothing of her background, but we love her dearly. She is such a sweetie. When we come home from work, she’s so excited she climbs on top of the furniture so we’ll pet her. First. Before we do anything else.

She loves everyone except other dogs. And any animal on TV. From buffalo to hedge hogs, if she sees one on the screen, she chases it. She’ll even stand on the arm of our love seat, so she can be on the same level as the intruding animals.

Molly doesn’t understand she is a dog. She complains a lot in the evenings when we don’t give her some of the food we’re eating.

I’m afraid she’ll be terribly insulted this weekend when she finds out she’s not invited to her brother’s wedding. She pouted for weeks after #2’s wedding last summer. “Why couldn’t I go? Aren’t I part of the family?”

Poor thing.

Of course, the fact that she gets carsick and usually pukes all over the place makes it hard for her to go anywhere.

If I’m not quick with my pic, forget it!

 She’s outta there!

But still, she feels it’s the principal of the thing. After all, she’s known the boys longer than their women have.