Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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A few months ago, I entered my WIP (work in progress) in my chapter’s unpublished contest.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.



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


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


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


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


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


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


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!

  • Retreat! (


Strength and Courage

Love with a Heart Like His Shadowbox

Image by Rita H Cobbs via Flickr

I promised to pass on some exciting news today, which came while on retreat with my romance writers group, but I’ve been asked to hold it a while. Sorry. It wasn’t a trick. I want to tell you about it!

I can tell you I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in prayer while we were there. (I woke up hours before my roomies did.) Each morning, I had time to sit outside near that beautiful pond, and pray. And listen. And pray some more.

I also had a chance to take a walk one afternoon. Isn’t it beautiful when you can walk with the Lord alone?

Since I can’t pass on the fantastic news, I’ll share something else with you.   

There’s something I think you’ll enjoy reading. It’s written by Beth Moore’s daughter, Amanda, on her blog. (I’ll give you the link later.) Many times she tells light-hearted tales about her children and their life, but this one is serious and, to be honest, heart touching.

She’s talking about spiritual warfare she and her husband have been experiencing in their lives. All Christians suffer from spiritual warfare of one kind or another. (If you haven’t been attacked in some way, you might look into your walk with the Lord.) Not all attacks are the same, and for that I’m very grateful.

I’ve never had the type of attack she’s talking about in this blog, but one of my closest friends has.

Through no fault of her own, my friend found herself single after many years of marriage. She spent hours and hours with friends and alone, fasting and praying for her spouse. Sometime around then, the attacks began.

And it’s no surprise. When a woman begins to build that kind of spiritual muscle, Satan is bound to take notice. He has to do what he can to stop her. But of course, she didn’t stop. She continued, holding the Lord’s hand and being prayed for by her sisters (blood and non-blood.)

When the attacks came, and it seems as if that happened for many weeks (to a big sister anything like that can grow in memory) she’d pray. Hers didn’t just happen in her sleep or dreams. She felt the attacks even after she woke.

I remember waking in the night several times to pray for her. I was never sure if God woke me before, after or instead of her, but He woke me. And I prayed. Many of her friends did.

I wish I could have been there to stand beside her during that time. But Someone stronger and much wiser than me was always there, watching over and taking care of her.

Oh, what a joy it is to know Him!

Deut. 31: 6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

To read Amanda’s article on spiritual warfare click here: Baby Bangs.