Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Behind the scenes with . . .

better-meme Me! (Yikes!) As you can see, I’m not good at taking selfies. 😀 Here’s a tiny corner of my office. I especially like the thingy with all the drawers, because a dear friend gave it to me not too long before her death. deskish But I don’t write in my office anymore. Most of the time I write in my recliner in the family room. When I look up, I see this picture. viewI won this picture and I love it, because it reminds me of my Small Town World. (Funny how that works.) When I got my new hip, I wrote here– writers-couchand if you can see above the couch, those are my kiddos looking on. My first desk that I claimed all for myself was this one– 2nd-deskIf you think it looks like an old vanity table that’s lost it’s mirror, you’re right. Back then it didn’t have the game boards or the kids book on it, but it did have a big monitor and keyboard. Not an ideal place to write, but I learned a lot on that mini-desk. (Thank you, Grandma Reeves!) While I wrote there, I read through Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict several times. And I still keep it handy. Now I want to introduce you to my muse. I don’t think any of the women I’ve interviewed have mentioned their muses yet, so maybe I’m the only writer with one. My sisters gave me Minerva for my birthday the month before we lost our mom. museMinerva is an Attic Baby. She’s wearing a housecoat and slippers and in her basket she has cleaning equipment and a mop and tucked in one corner is a Romance Novel called True Romance. I love her! Once in a while, Minerva just takes over and writes for me. muse-writesThat’s okay, too. 🙂 IMG_0724When the weather’s right and it gets light early enough, I like to take my laptop outside. And yes, Linda, I have that “Oh! A Squirrel!” problem, too. I’m trying to get over it. When I’m outside here’s my view– lakeWe live on Keystone Lake, and this is the prettiest part! So, the questions I make everyone else answer. (I’ve probably answered them already, but just in case . . .) Question: Do you write in your office? If not, where else do you write.

Me: Never.

Question: Why not?

Me: Don’t ask. It’s not pretty.

Question-Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever written?

 Me: We had a retreat once at a place on Grand Lake and I loved writing there. I don’t know why, either. I might have been because I was with other writers, it might have been because our speaker did a fantastic job, or it might have been because each time we had a few free moments, my roomie went straight to her computer and went to work. So I did, too.

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

Me: I don’t think there is a weird place to write. I haven’t written at work (really! I haven’t!!!) and I’ve never written anything during a funeral, but I usually have stories going on in my head. I’m afraid I’ll never have time to write all of them.

Question-Do you do anything before you write? Light a candle? Talk to Minerva?

Me: I write best in the early morning, so I make coffee before I write. Wish I did something more interesting.

Question-Do you write every day?

Me: As much as possible, unless I oversleep. I have more time on weekends, so I love writing then. Sometimes I take Christmas off.

Question-What’s the atmosphere in your office?

Me: Easy going. The kitchen’s right over my left shoulder, so I refill my coffee as often as possible. My writing partner sometimes interrupts to go outside, then to come back in. But until G-Man wakes up, it’s pretty quiet.

Writing Partner

Bossy Writing Partner

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

 Me: I tried to. But I found myself singing along with the music instead of writing. Silence is best for me.

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

Me: I used to think I wanted an office off by itself, but I know better now. I’d never go out there to write. And I don’t play the guitar to get my juices flowing. (Wish I could, though.) Since the kids are all married and living somewhere else, I have the entire house to write in. So my dream office is where ever me and my laptop are.

Question- How did you get started writing?

 Me: Well, it’s not because I made straight A’s in English. The truth is, I’m a huge reader. If I don’t have something to read, I’ll go nuts. And when I can’t read, I’ve always made up stories in my head to entertain myself. I found out writing them down is even more fun than just thinking them, because you get to find out how the story ends. Good stuff!

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

 Me: Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict and just about any of James Scott Bell’s how-to books.

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

Me: I wish I could say, I do this and this and this, but sadly, I can’t. Sometimes I play the What If game and sometimes a character takes shape in my head and won’t leave me alone until I write her story. That’s what’s happening to me this time. I wish I knew where this story was going, but I don’t. I do think it’s a Christian Suspense, though.  Maybe.

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

Me: I wish you hadn’t asked that question. The truth is, I struggled. And I’m still struggling. I sold lots of short stories, but I can’t tell you how many novels I learned on before I started selling.

Question- I know you write in more than one genre. Can you tell us a little about that?

Me: My first book was To School a Cowboy, a straight romance. The second one was Blind Sight, romantic suspense, and the third one was Make Me Howl, which is a werewolf story. Those three were published by The Wild Rose Press and under my name, Susan Shay. I just finished a manuscript called Jordan Valley that I call Christian Women’s Fiction. The new one I’m working on is also set in Jordan Valley and is (hopefully) going to be a suspense. I plan to write those as either Susan Spess or Susan Spess Shay, unless someone changes my mind for me.

Question- What piece of advice do you have for a newbie struggling writer?

Me: The best advice I can give anyone is stick with it. Find a good critique group. And read. I met a guy once who had written a long, long book he wanted to get published, so I asked him what he liked to read. He told me he didn’t read. I was shocked. Writers read. Maybe not all the time, and maybe not in the genre they write, but if a person doesn’t like to read, why would he want to write? And don’t take yourself too seriously. Look for the glee in life and laugh as often as possible, especially at yourself. After all, you know the inside story. You know how funny you really are.

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Linda’s HOPE

Hey, y’all! I have a real treat for you. My good friend, Linda Trout’s new book, Last Hope Alaska, is being published today. (I’m so excited, I could SCREAM!!!) And guess what! As busy as she is (busier than a cranberry merchant taking inventory) she kindly agreed to an interview.

Linda Trout, Author

Linda Trout, Author (OWFI 2014)

My nephew, Grant Sparks, knew Linda before I did, and I think he’d agree she’s a true romantic at heart. Linda lives with her Real Life Hero and various dogs and cats in right here in northeastern Oklahoma. They own ten acres of semi-wooded land, where the “wild” keeps creeping forward at a pace faster than they can keep up with.

Getting lost in a good book is one of her favorite pastimes as well as riding alongside her hubby on their Harleys.

1- Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Linda. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a shy, quiet, unassuming woman (Susan: Shy? Quiet? Unassuming??? Clears throat. LOL) who loves to talk to anyone who’ll listen, visit Just About Anywhere, Alaska, and ride my motorcycle full bore down the open highway. Retired from the corporate world, I love spending days with my fur babies and my hubby, who pushes me to write faster.

Linda-Trout-Promo-2

2- Are you a writer only or do you like to read, too? (I’ve said for years that all writers should learn to read at some point.)

I love to read! I like a variety of genres but tend to gravitate toward suspense. I love to experience the dangers the characters face without leaving the comfort of home. (I should have added on #1 that I’m a wuss. LOL)

3- Who are a few of your favorite authors? (No pressure here.)

That’s easy. You. 🙂 Marilyn Pappano, Jodi Thomas, B.J. Daniels, Julia Quinn, Colleen Thompson, Lenora Worth, Gail Barrett, Beth Cornelison. I could go on but we don’t have enough time or space. LOL

4- When did you first start seriously writing?

When I turned 50 I gave myself permission to try. Sounds weird, but that’s what I had to do to get me going. I took classes on writing and eventually began attending conferences and workshops to learn the craft.

5- I know this sounds like almost the same question, but a lot of people dream about writing and never actually do it. When did you first think about wanting to write for publication?

I got serious about writing for publication after I joined a romance writers group. They showed me that I actually had something worthwhile to say.

6- Your new book is called Last Hope Alaska. Can you tell us a little about how you got the idea for that book.

LastHopeAlaska

My husband and I love to visit the state. On one trip I left him to hike the Chilkoot Trail and I came back home. On the way to the airport, the taxi driver asked me where I was from with that accent. Right then and there, Last Hope Alaska was conceived. That’s also why my hero drives a taxi part time. I had to be true to the roots of the story.

Okay, when I tell that story, I’m going to say he was a really HOT taxi driver, and if you hadn’t just seen your husband . . . . (Just to make it a little more interesting. *wink* )

7- How many times have you visited Alaska? And what do you like best there?

Oh, I’ve probably been there 8 times over the years, finding a new place to visit every time. I love the laid back lifestyle and the people. I think it takes a special type of person to live in the Last Frontier…to be able to put up with 6 months of almost constant daylight, followed by 6 months of almost total darkness. Not sure I could handle that.

8- What’s your favorite part of your new book?

Gee. Ask me something hard, why don’t you? LOL Besides the ending, I think my favorite part of the book is when they first meet, then he sees just how tough she really is. She doesn’t think of herself as a survivor, but proves she has what it takes.

9- What’s your best advice for someone who wants to be a writer?

I think my best advice is to sit down and write. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, just write. Then find a group of people who write the same genre as you. I know I wouldn’t be as far along in my writing if I hadn’t found a group of romance authors to help cheer me on. You need to associate with others who also have multiple characters living in their heads. Also, like I said in question #4, learn the craft before you throw yourself out there unprepared. The wolves will eat you alive. Seriously. It isn’t pretty.

Supportive writers at OWFI

Some of Linda’s support group at OWFI. (And some of the people Linda supports.)

10- Can you share a little of the book with us? (Because, yes, that’s why you are here. Right?)

I’d love to share some of my book with you!

Excerpt from Last Hope Alaska

“Hey, this looks great.” The screen door slammed behind Sam. “Molly’s sure getting her money’s worth.”

Emily turned toward him and burst out laughing. “What in the world happened to you?” He was covered in so much dirt he looked as if he’d been rolling downhill all morning.

“Being used as slave labor. Remind me to never agree to help that woman again.” He slapped at his pants legs, sending dust flying everywhere.

“Hey! Stop that! I just swept the floor.”

“You don’t look so clean yourself, sugar.” He closed the space between them and began flipping cobwebs out of her hair.

“Sam…” His intimate touch turned her legs to jelly. Then he reached up to wipe dirt from her nose, right before he gripped her chin and raised her face to his. He lowered his gaze to her lips. Cotton balls formed in her mouth. She licked her lips. Her eyelids drifted closed.

“What’s keeping you?” Molly called from outside the back door, breaking the spell.

*  *  *

Thank you for having me on Small Town World, Susan. I’ve really enjoyed being here!

Linda, I love you (and your books) more than my shoes! I loved having you here in my World. (BTW–You almost let the truth about who inhabits my Small Town World slip out when you were talking about characters living in your head. Gotta be careful.) 😀

Seriously, guys, check out Linda’s new book. I think you’ll enjoy as much as I did! 

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Links:

Click here to find Linda’s book at The Wild Rose Press

Click here to go to Last Hope Alaska on Amazon.

And if you’re a Kindle Fan (like me!) click here to download the digital version of LHA.

BTW: This is the link to Linda’s website. Drop by there and say hi.  

And Linda’s having a party on Facebook Friday night. This is your invitation! (Tell her you came with me. You’ll get special treatment. 🙂 And she’ll love me.

Ps: I got up early this morning and bought my copy. Go there from here and get yours!  🙂

 


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♥♥♥ Here’s Jazzy ♥♥♥

Jazzy here. I know, I know. Susan’s been trying to follow the rules and keep me quiet.

Susan: Jazzy, you’re a character. Characters from books aren’t real. They don’t have a life. They can’t impose their will on the author.

Me: Snort! If I’m not real, who’s been talking inside your head all this time? Besides, when have I ever  been quiet? You can ask Bella, my minutes older twin. I came out kicking and screaming and haven’t stopped since.

Susan: You’re right. I give.

Jazzy: So, let’s talk heat. Yes, you heard me right. HEAT. Being a member of the animal kingdom (a werewolf) it’s something I have to deal with once a year. But to be honest, it isn’t pretty. Listen, you think PMS is bad? Ha! Being in heat is killer! (Sometimes, literally.) You can check with Bella on that one, too.

Usually she tries to take me away from my natural habitat when “my time” comes. It might only happen once annually, but even one time can be horrifyingly memorable. And if there’s one thing sister-dearest doesn’t want, it’s for anyone in our everyday life to remember me like that.

This particular time, she dragged me off to Colorado. And she didn’t tell a soul.

* * *

I waited in the car when Bella got back patting my foot in annoyance by the time she started it. “Did they have our reservation?”

“Yes.” When I shifted into blasting-words-mode,why did she speak in slo-mo?

“Full living room? Two bedrooms? Shower or tub?” Rat-a-tat tat.

“Full living room, big screen TV, shower and Jacuzzi tub. But I asked for a one bedroom, two queens.” I could have climbed Mount Everest in the time it took her to finish.

“One? One bedroom?” I screeched. “That’s ridiculous! Why would you ask for one bedroom? You knew I’d want time alone.”

Not only were her words slow, so was her smile and the light that shifted to brighten her eyes. “Of course I knew you’d want privacy, and that’s exactly why I got one bedroom. To protect you from…that.”

Anger exploded in my chest, leaving a prickle of something on my skin. Sweat or bristle, I wasn’t sure. “Who do you think you are? My keeper? My trainer? Did you bring a leash and a muzzle, too?”

Somewhere in a detached part of my mind, I noticed the sun drifting toward the western horizon, turning the snow a delicate shade of apricot while the sky darkened from blue to purple. In just minutes, the apricot would become a dramatic shade of peach, then flame to burnt orange while the sky would shift to indigo.

Bella put the car in park.

“Let’s get unloaded. Fast.” I shoved open the door and rushed to the back to grab our bags. Not bothering to wait for her, I snatched the suitcases, slammed the door with a hipshot and headed for the entrance.

Bella hurried to catch up. “Let me take something.”

“Just get the doors.” I marched on, trying to expend a bit of my scorching energy.

“This one. Room 111.”

I gave a growl of acceptance, low and deep. One, one, one. The only one. I was alone. Oh, there’d been others. My maternal grandmother, for instance. And probably her grandmother. But for now, I was the only. Lost in a world of snow.

And growing very, very hungry.

By the time we were in the room, the fur was shoving its way through my skin. Knowing how horrified Bella became during my transformations, I excused myself as if I were going to the bathroom, which was off the bedroom. As I walked into the room, I saw my salvation. A door to the outside world.

Hoping Bella wouldn’t enter anytime soon, I luxuriated in my change. Strength turned my muscles to steel. No longer did the energy surging through me hurt as if I were an overfilled beach ball. Now it belonged inside me. It made me powerful.

Before I had no choice but to drop to all fours, I opened that door then let the effect of the rising moon take me.

Exhilarated, I raised my face in adulation. With a long howl for Bella, I bounded into the night.

So you can see, being born with the werewolf gene isn’t exactly easy, but at least things don’t get boring for me or my sister. Or you either, I can practically guarantee.


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HOOOOOOWWWLLLL!

 LOOK! WHAT! I! FOUND!

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Showing 1 Result

Product Details

Make Me Howl by Susan Shay  (Jul 23, 2013) – Kindle eBook

     IS THIS COOL OR WHAT?

All I did was an Amazon search for Make Me Howl and this is what came up. (Or something like it.)

Go ahead. Go to Amazon dot com (  http://amazon.com  ) click Kindle and put MAKE ME HOWL in the search engine. Go ahead. Try it and see what you find. *grins*

Or if you want you can just click here:

MAKE ME HOWL

 

You’ll go right to the page where you can order the book.
Want to know about the book? Well . . . it’s little bit paranormal, a little bit humorous and a lot romance.
How about it? Want a great end of the summer read? Check it out.
MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)
And you can still enter to win. Just comment here and tell me what animal you’d morph into if you could be a shape shifter.
How about it?


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BIG! SURPRISE!

Guess what!

MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)

MAKE ME HOWL (my werewolf book) is going to be available, exclusively on Kindle, on July 26, 2013. JULY 26th! That’s this Friday!!! (I found out yesterday.)

Wow. Wow, WOW, WOW.  That’s four days from now.

I’m kind of in shock.

Okay, I’m really in shock. Big time!

I keep wondering if it’s a mistake. 🙂

MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)

If MMH was a real book with pages (and it won’t be until November) this is what the back cover would say:

When Chase Holliday’s gaze first met mine, something tingled on my end. He was hot. Dark blue eyes, a square jaw, hair that was just a little too long, and this way of focusing that made me wonder if I should attack or run.

 And I never run.

 Together we’d make a pair anyone would sit up and notice–at least that’s what I thought. Then I learned that he planned to wipe werewolves from the face of the planet. And since I was born with an active werewolf gene, well, let’s just say our twain could never meet.

 Until a Blood Moon occurred while I was in heat and all my hard earned control went slamming out the window with me right behind it. That’s when I learned that, like wolves in nature, werewolves mate for life.

 I’m in deep trouble.

Not your normal shape shifter story. But Jazzy isn’t your normal werewolf, either. Like her grandmother, she was born with an active werewolf gene. (Her twin sister got the gene for straight hair, so it all evens out.)

MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)

I set up a Facebook page for MMH. Please take a moment to pop over there and “like” it. Or pretend you like it. Either one. Here’s the page.

BTW: This is the last manuscript I finished before I started trying to write Christian Women’s Fiction. (aka: Inspirational Romance.) I’m working on and praying about that now.

So (please!) come see me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MakeMeHowl

Thanks, guys. (I need all the help I can get.)

MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)

And, no. That’s not me on the cover. 😉


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PUB DATE! I HAVE A PUB DATE!!!!

GUESS WHAT!

I received my pub date from my publisher. (Did the blog title give it away?)

Make Me Howl is going to be available on November 15, 2013!

 

HOWL!

I’m just a little(!) bit excited. *grins* Can you tell?

MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)I’m going to try to set up a Facebook page for Howl. (I think.) 🙂 If I do, I’ll need all my friends out there to like it. Well, the ones who read werewolf books.

All three of you. 🙂

In case you’re wondering, HOWL isn’t an inspirational. 😉 It’s the last book I wrote before I started trying inspirational. I’m still waiting to hear back on my first try with that genre. The tentative title is Texas Hearts. Prayers about that would be appreciated!

Okay, wait. I’m asking for prayers for God’s will with my writing, not that TH will sell. Although I’d love, love, love to write for the Lord, I really want to be solidly in His will.

Oh, and if you like werewolf books, HOWL is acomin’!

It’s not your normal werewolf book.

 


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Howl-y Galley

Katimik, a former inhabitant of Mission: Wolf ...

Guess what!

I received the galley for MAKE ME HOWL! I’m jumping-up-and-down-screaming-my-head-off excited!!! So excited, I might use up my quota of exclamation points today.

😛

If you’ve never seen a galley, it looks like the pages of a real book with the author’s name (mine. Squee!!!) at the top of one page and the title on the next, and the lines are all numbered down the left side of the page. The lines are justified with extra spaces between the words so each one begins and ends in the same place. (Except for the last line in a paragraph.)

Looks pretty cool, too! 😉

MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)

I’m reading through my entire book one more time before it goes to press, looking for typos, mistakes and boo-boos. (Last chance ranch, baby!)

And you know what? This book’s not bad! (Even if I do say so myself. LOL) Even though I’ve been deep in it for a while now, with more than a few partial and complete read-throughs, I’m not a bit bored. That’s a good thing. (Hopefully, that means readers will enjoy it, too.)

And one more really exciting thing. When I get the galley finished and back to my editor, I’ll be ready to receive my pub date.

Big, big grin.

♥ 

Guess I’ll get back to it.

You might enjoy these posts, too.

JUST WOLFING

MAKE ME HOWL

MAKE ME HOWL–SOLD!