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?



Love! To! Read!

I LOVE to read. The fact that I’m a writer might have tipped you off to that little tidbit. I’ve never met a successful writer who didn’t like to read.

I saw on Facebook that a Broken Arrow teacher was honored on an afternoon talk show (I think they said Ellen) and one of my FBF said she wished she’d had a librarian like her. The woman made her want to read.

Aw, man. Don’t you like reading??? My heart hurt for her. (Yeah, I’m weird.)

But that made me wonder . . . why do I love reading?

Was there a teacher who put the reading itch in me? Not one specific one, but in grade school, we had to read 25 books a year.

In second grade, I remember making 25 verbal book reports to the teach. I loved it!

Anyone remember Flicka, Dicka, Ricka books?

1 book

How about Snip, Snap, Snur?

3 book

Not surprisingly, both series were written by the same woman–Maj Lindman. I only recall one book’s story (2nd grade was a long time ago!) but I remember I liked the boy books better than the girl ones. (Hey, riding a sled is a lot more fun than baking a cake, even today!)

While I read those twenty-five books a year, I realized I could become anyone. And I could go anywhere.

I spent an entire Christmas vacation one year reading a chapter book about a girl who owned a horse and the adventures they had. I don’t remember the title, but I remember that book!

In seventh grade, Mrs. Ault read a book to our class (right after lunch) called Rifles for Waite by Harold Keith. I loved listening to her read. The kids in our class disappeared as the story took over.

This is from Wikipedia:

Jeff marches off to Leavenworth from Linn County, Kansas in 1861, on his way to join the Union volunteers. He’s off to fight for the North; his zeal having been fueled by reaction to the guerilla war of “bushwhackers” that was taking place in eastern Kansas.

However, Stand Watie is on the side of the South. We meet many soldiers and civilians on both sides of the war, including Watie’s raiding parties, itinerant printer Noah Babbitt and, in Tahlequah, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) the beautiful Cherokee girl, Lucy Washbourne.

Jeff’s story is notable as he eventually winds up fighting for both the North and the South (while on a special undercover mission) at different times during the conflict while making new friends on each side.

It is also notable for the detailed depiction of contemporary Cherokee life in Indian Territory, including various tribal political factions. During an undercover mission Jeff finds that Captain Asa Clardy of the Union Cavalry is smuggling new Spencer rifles to the Indian forces of Stand Watie.

Keith portrays how Jeff Bussey, in the midst of huge conflicts, had to choose one side or another at various times and how this was not always as simple as it may seem in historical hindsight.

I loved that book. 🙂 Maybe because they visited places in Oklahoma (hey, Grandma lived at Tahlequah!) and not many books at that time did. Or maybe because it was about a kid not too much older than I was who put his life on the line for what he believed. Cool!

Another book memory–The Pink Dress. I LOVED The Pink Dress.

1 a dress

This 1959 book by Anne Alexander is hard to find today. This one is for sale on Amazon for $850! YIKES!!! I won’t be buying it, but it really was a great read for a seventh grader.

The main character was a little older than me and had a boyfriend. One of the first books I read with tons of tension. Will-she-get-the-blame-even-though-she-didn’t-do-it type stuff kept me glued to that book!

I had to see what was going to happen.

Pink Dress was a little dated by the time I read it. In my mind, the boyfriend was a greaser with a ducktail who wore a leather jacket and rode a motorcycle. Even high school bad boys didn’t dress like that anymore. But I felt a little guilty reading it because I knew my mama would never approve of a boy like that! 🙂

Are you a reader?

What books do you remember from your childhood?


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While shortening Luke’s piece about his mother yesterday, I inadvertently left out an important portion. I’m so sorry for the omission, Luke!

Here it is–

From Luke: Around the time I was finishing my Master’s at OSU, Mom got double pneumonia. I knew in my heart I had to help her and take care of her, so I would go with her to school. As she put it, she was the brains and I was the brawn. And together, we got her work done.

She got over the pneumonia, but her rheumatoid arthritis flared up and started ravaging her body. But Mom was strong and she was stubborn and she would not let the arthritis rob her of her life.

She continued to work through much pain and difficulty because she loved the kids. I would go up to Frontier and volunteer in the library so I could help her. We kept that routine up, until about five years ago.


I just want God to show me one  (a wife) with a heart for others as big as Mom’s. In spite of all the difficulty and suffering we went through, I would gladly give up everything for another ten years to be able to honor her and take care of her.

I am so thankful to God for providing me a mom who modeled love, goodness, dedication, selflessness, and compassion.

I have to tell you, Luke Bell is an awesome young man. I’ve heard from his Uncle Rick that he’s not only thoughtful and considerate, but extremely smart, too.

Thank you, Luke, for sharing your heart with us. I know how proud your parents are of you. I truly appreciate your sharing a bit of Kathy’s life.



Did you know it? I didn’t. But it is.


Some people I know (ahem, #4) own readers but don’t use them. Here’s your chance to really get your feet wet.

You can get great books free, and even more books at discounts. Try it. I love it.

Here’s a list of publishers who are throwing the party.

My books are there, too, for 10% off. (I know, shameless self promotion. But a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.)

Wild Rose Press has several free e-books this week, too, and all e-books are 10% off. Go for it!

Happy E-Booking!



I’ve always loved books. One of my earliest memories from moving to C-Town is sitting in my little green rocking chair, surrounded by my books, and wishing Mom would stop what she was doing (unpacking) and read to me.

She did. 🙂

Most children think the world started when they were born, but I was a little different. I thought a love for the written word started with me. After all, about the only time I saw one of my parents read, it was them reading a book to me or one of my sibs. Why would I believe otherwise?

As soon as my brother or sisters learned to read, I loved to take them downtown to get their first library card.

So this weekend, while cleaning out a file cabinet in my office, I rediscovered something I found when I lived in Grandmother’s house. First, I found this.

I took it to Dad and asked who it had belonged to, and he said it had been his. I don’t know if you can read in the picture, but it says, BOOK TWO, (The First Reader). BTW: The copyright is 1925.

Dad’s first grade book! And probably a school book, not from church.

It has stories with names such as, “Jesus Growing Up,” and “God Speaking to a Little Boy.” Try putting that in a public school reader today!

Not long later, I found two more books.



 NATIONAL VELVET’S copyright page.

Written in 1935 by Enid Bagnold

This edition was published in 1942, when Dad was 12 years old. I have to think he read it when he was in 6th grade. How do I know they’re his?

Because he wasn’t shy about writing his name in his books. I don’t know if he bought and read them because he just like reading or if they were class assignments. I’ll try to remember to ask him.

WEE WILLIE WINKIE, by Rudyard Kipling, has some interesting story titles.

Can you read that very last story title? “In an Opium Factory”! Kind of eye opening, isn’t it. At least it got my attention. I’ll have to read it (carefully, so I don’t rip any of the brittle pages) and see what it’s all about. I’ll let you know. 🙂

Not long ago, Sister Cindy boxed up Dad’s books and sent them to the office. I knew they were coming and figured they’d be about geology. Some were. Some were religious books, and some were books he just enjoyed reading.

The boxes, stacked full of books, lined the hallway for about twenty feet.

Where are they now? Going into my office, of course!.

I love having things my dad has enjoyed.

I love knowing a book I read (and cried over) when I was a kid is one he read, too.

And I love knowing I come by my love for reading from my dad as well as my mom.