Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Hop-Along!

Hop-Along!

But not Hop-Along Cassidy, as in the character created by Clarence E. Mulford and played by William Boyd who, btw, was reared in Tulsa. (Clears throat to indicate a big deal.) LOL.

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By Hop-Along, I mean I’m part of a Blog Hop (I added the along!) That means you read mine, then hop back to read Linda Trout’s blog (fantastic writer, in case you’re looking for something new to read) and if you get caught up in the whole “hoppy” thing, jump back to Jackie King’s blog. (I LOVE Jackie. In fact, I want to be her when I grow up.)

Since Linda tagged me, let me tell you about her.

Linda Trout is one of those people I just stand and stare at. (Mentally, that is. My mama taught me better than do really do that.) This woman rides a Harley (her own motorcycle, not just hanging on behind her husband like I used to do) is recently retired from a career in oil (she did all the things I hide from) visits Alaska periodically (yes! I want to go there!) and she Writes! Fantastic! Books!

And she’s GORGEOUS!

Linda Trout, Author

Linda Trout, Author

Be sure to check out her blog about what she writes. This Claremore girl (from Fort Gibson) is more than a little bit interesting! And her newest book, Last Hope, Alaska, will be out August 20th! Watch for it!

You really should check out her other books. They’re great! (I should know!)

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Question, question, questions–

So, Susan Spess Shay, What are you working on?

I’m working on the first story in a series set in Jordan Valley, Oklahoma, called UNSPEAKABLE.

The stories involve the Matthews family. They own a daycare called Gingerbread Giggles. (Mama Matthews’s first name is Ginger, thus the name.) The heroine of this story is Glory Matthews. Her sister is Star. When my hero, Eli Daniels, first meets them, he wonders if their mother was a hippy or just in love with the flag. And he wonders if their brother’s name is Stripes. It’s not. 😀

Hm. So how does your work differ from every other book on the shelf in its genre?

  • It differs because I put Me in my books. Nobody else can do that. (Thank heaven!) They can only put themselves in.
  • I write with a little humor, so you know I don’t take myself or my characters too seriously.
  • Another thing that might be a little different is that I believe in the power of love. I think God created us to be attractive to the opposite sex, so yes, there is–um–sexual attraction in my book. (And having attended a Christian college, I know ministers and Men and Women of the Cloth experience it, too!) 🙂

WHY do you write what you write?

Do you really want to know? (Raises eyebrows with a questioning glance.) I haven’t always written Christian Women’s Fiction, which is what I’m calling my genre.  I used to write Romance. (If you’ve read any of my books, you know what I’m talking about.)

Then one November, I started to do Nanowrimo, which is when you write an entire 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days.

I was doing it. In fact, I’d figured it so I’d have the entire thing finished before Thanksgiving, and I was right on schedule. Then one day I woke up to get to work and it hit me–

“That’s not the kind of book I want to be remembered for.” I never did finish that book, but I did a lot of praying about it after that.

 Well, that’s . . . different. How does your writing process work?

Since I have a day job that I absolutely adore (I work for my daddy with my brother, sister, husband, son, a niece or two, several cousins and lots of friends) and since anything I write at night has to be rewritten, I get up AEAP (as early as possible) fix a pot of coffee and write. I love to wake up at 4:00 a.m. and get with it. I write as many days a week as I wake up in time to do it. (That’s most days.) I write a little longer on Saturdays.

From the beginning of the book: I usually start with a “What If” question.

For Make Me Howl, I thought, “What if werewolves weren’t just crazy monsters? What if it was a genetic thing, passed down from generation to generation? 🙂 And what if my werewolf had a paternal twin sister? Werewolf girl would get the werewolf gene, twin would get the gene for straight hair. It all comes out in the wash.

For my werewolf book, I had to let my imagination go wild! (Pun intended.) Like all wolves, she’d have to go into heat. Right? That was fun to write! LOL. And there had to be a “blessing” to counteract the “curse”, so I gave werewolves affluence. The fun just goes on from there.

For my Jordan Valley series, I wanted to make it easy for me, so I used my hometown as a model. (Who can keep track of maps?) I enjoy humor, so I gave my main family a daycare center, and but none of the women who work there are married or have children.

My favorite ongoing characters are a pair of octogenarian twins who are total opposites. One is the sweetest thing since God created honey and the other is a cranky retired teacher who is only nice if there are kids around. They take in women and children who need help or who need to hide from an abusive husband/father.

Here’s the cranky retired teacher, telling about the time an abusive husband tracked down his wife and broke into their house.

♥ ♥ ♥

“That man just kept coming. He grabbed Sister and was shaking her so hard, I thought he was going to break her bones.” She folded her arms and sat back in the chair. “I had to conk him with Papa’s door stop to get him to quit.”

“You mean a little rubber thing you shove under a door stopped him?” How?

Mrs. Jackson closed her eyes and sighed. “Of course not. Papa was in World War One and he brought back a door stop, made out of iron, that looked like the Eiffel Tower. We used it a lot before we had air conditioning, to keep the door open so we’d have a draft. But with the cooler, we haven’t needed it so much anymore. It got kind of shoved behind the drape next to the door.

“He was yelling and shaking Sister, she was quoting scripture at him and I was slapping him, trying to get him to quit. He shoved my old body off toward the wall, and when he did, I struck my foot on the Tower. Well, he’d gone back to hurting my sister, so I just picked it up and conked him on the head.” The look of pride in her eyes was unmistakable.

He couldn’t blame her, either. “I’ll bet that slowed him down.”

“Yes, it did.” A small smile spread across her face. “Slowed him so much, he still wasn’t conscious when the ambulance got here to take him to the hospital.”

He tried to hide the amusement roiling inside him. “What did the police say?”

“Boyd Hubbard was the policeman that came. I tell you, if I’d known what an idiot he was going to grow into when I had him in first grade, I’d have flunked him for another year or two.” She rolled her eyes heavenward with an irritated sigh. “He told me I might have done real damage to the man. Said the man’s family could file a lawsuit against me. I told him to go back to the police station and look up the Make My Day Law. That jerk should have been glad I didn’t have a gun.”

“Do you remember what scripture Miss Charlotte quoted?”

Mrs. Jackson chuckled. “It’s a funny thing, preacher. The kids staying with us had trouble sleeping because they were scared of the dark, and who could blame them? So Charlotte had been reading the 16th Psalm to them for their bedtime story. When their daddy tracked them down and broke in, he grabbed her and she said all she could think was that eighth verse, ‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.’ When she got to that last part, she was yelling.”

♥ ♥ ♥

Thanks, Linda Trout, for tagging me for this hop. It’s been so much fun!

Now I’m tagging Natasha Hanova, a new friend I met at OWFI for the next hop on June 2nd.

NH_AuthorPhotoLargeNatasha is a YA Paranormal author, a SUPER organized and patient woman (I can attest!) and a chocoholic!

Her book, Edge of Truth, published by Sapphire Star Publishing, is turning a year old in June, so we can hop over there and help her celebrate!

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Sweet! It’s Free!

ANNOUNCEMENT!

To celebrate the Season 17 return of Dancing with the Stars, MAKE ME HOWL is free on Kindle for the next five days!

HOWWWWWLLLL!

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Okay, it just happens to coincide with that fun show. (Don’t you love Valerie Harper???? And Bill Nye?) But honestly, if you’ve considered downloading MAKE ME HOWL, NOW IS THE TIME!

Because from today (September 17th) until Saturday, (the 21st) IT’S REALLY IS FREE!

(Just yesterday I told someone you don’t get anything free. Sigh. Once more, I was wrong!)IMG_4075

Back to business . . . It’s true! For five days (count ’em. FIVE!) you can own MAKE ME HOWL, and it won’t cost you a thing! Is that cool or what?

I’m pumped. PUMPED! Zip out there right now and “buy” it. Honestly, get one. I want you to!

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Okay, yes, it’s a werewolf story, but it’s not your normal werewolf story. Even if you usually don’t like stories about those who are vertically challenged, I think you’ll like this one.

And do me a favor? If you download the sweet freebie, please go back to Amazon and do a book review. An HONEST review.

If you don’t like it, I promise not to hunt you down and eat your face. (I can’t vouch for Jazzy, though.)

Oops. Almost forgot to give you the URL. Here it is: MAKE ME HOWL.

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Leave me some bloggy love today–Do you think we’re nuts to give it away? (Yes, talking about the book.) 🙂

These are from some people who’ve enjoyed the story.

Make Me Howl . .  . is a story you can sink your teeth into!” –Larry Talbot

“Great book! It’ll make you shake your tail feather . . . ” –Maleva

“If you don’t read this book, you’ll never know how “fur” the author can go.” –Sir John Talbot.

“It’s a “tail” like you’ve never read before.” –Col. Montford.

Confession: I made those attributes up. Anybody know who they are?

Check it out. 🙂 (Might as well. It’s free!)


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Tick-Tock; The Game is Locked

Ever notice how many people think their way is THE way. They don’t just think it should be the way, they think it is the way.

Example: (I hope he doesn’t mind.) Brother Jeffrey did a great job of grilling chicken for the work celebration of Dad’s birthday. He made us some darn good food. We had some leftovers, so naturally we kept them to eat later in the week for lunch.

A couple of days later, it surprised him to learn the white meat was all gone and we had only dark meat left. He thought the dark meat would be all gone.

Because he likes dark meat best and thought most other people would, too.

Fast forward a few months. I watched part of a documentary while waiting for a movie I wanted to see to come on. In the doc, this guy goes to Canada and asks everyone he meets if they lock their doors.

“No,” is the answer every time. He even checked it out by going to a few houses and opening the door. (Oops, sorry about that folks. Just checking to see if your door was locked.)

That shocked me, because I’ve always locked my doors. I thought everyone did.  (Kinda like Jeffrey and the dark meat, huh?)

When G-Man and I first married, we moved to a new town. I remember lying in bed, several nights in a row, and asking, “Did you lock the door?”

“Yes.”

I couldn’t stand it. “Are you sure?”

He was silent for a l-o-n-g moment. “If you don’t believe me, go check.”

He did.

I thought back even farther. When I was a kid, had my family lock their doors?

I think so. I know when I was in high school, if I came home after everyone was in bed, I had to slam the front door (so it would stay shut, and probably to tell the folks I was home) and then lock it.

So yeah, once my fam moved to C-Town, we locked the doors. I wasn’t sure about when we lived in Old ‘Ford, though. So the first time I got the chance, I asked Dad, “Did you guys lock your doors at night when you were a kids?”

“Oh, no.” Then, he laughed. “I remember one time, someone came into the house in Old ‘Ford after we were all asleep.”

Did they raid the kitchen and eat the inside of the cake like Paul and Frank did when they were kids? 

Instead, I kept quiet and listened.

“Who ever it was came in and stole Daddy and Frank’s pants.”

Wow. Of all the things I could think of to steal out of the house they’d lived in, men’s pants were the last. I could have understood if someone had stolen food from the kitchen or Grandmother’s purse. But Granddad and Uncle Frank’s pants?

“Why?” I asked.

“Theirs weren’t the only pants stolen, either. Whoever it was went all over town, probably twenty or thirty houses, stealing the men’s pants. They got them back though. Someone found them all outside of town in a field.”

That really puzzled me. “Was it a practical joke? Why would anyone do that?”

“To get their wallets and change and other stuff they left in them when they took them off,” Dad explained.

Someone with a devious mind figured things like Jeffrey and me. Because the bad guy left his wallet in his pants when he took them off at night, he figured everyone else did, too.

So he crept in where men and women and children were sleeping after a hard day’s work, found where the men left their pants and swiped them. I’m only surprised he didn’t take women’s purses, too. Why stop with only men’s britches?

I wonder how many times he found wallets left in pants and how many times he came up empty? After that, did most men stop leaving their wallets in their pants?

And, when did most people in Oklahoma started locking their doors?