Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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The GRAND Canyon

How long has it been since you were at the Grand Canyon?

We’ve been there twice, the last time at the beginning of this month! And to be honest, my toes stayed curled for a long time after we left because of the sudden drop looming next to the path. 🙂

As you can probably guess, I snapped a few pics while we were there.

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This statue was in front of the restaurant where we ate. Don’t you love it?

GC-FATHER-SONTo be honest, I’m a people/critter watcher first and a canyon watcher second. This pair looked like a father-son to me. I loved the way they were recording their time together.

GC-HORSEThis was one of the park rangers. She didn’t stop and chat (sadly) and she didn’t offer me a ride, sigh, but she was friendly. Nice horse, too, huh?

GC-LIZARDWe watched this guy sun himself on the edge of the canyon for several minutes.

GC-SQUIRRELAnd this speedy character entertained several of us lurkers.

GC-ART-STUDIOThis is an artist’s studio there at the edge of the canyon. Imagine spending your days painting God’s handiwork. (And hoping you don’t sleep walk off the edge.)

GC-WEEDSI did get a few (!) shots of the canyon. God really carved out a beautiful place out there.

GC-THE-CANYONAren’t the muted colors gorgeous?

GC-ROCKY

GC-HIGH

GC-TRAILING-PATHI decided I couldn’t climb any higher on the rim train at one point (that deep hole was making me dizzy) so I sat on a bench and waited while G-Man went on up.

I met several people while I was there. One couple was Sam and Rebecca from Ohio. They asked where I was from and I answered, “Cleveland, OKLAHOMA. When I say Cleveland, most people say ask if it’s the one in Ohio.”

Rebecca laughed. “When you start talking, they know it’s not Ohio.”

“I have an accent???”

GC-LEAP-PADSThis is the place where my kids hopped around the last time we were at the Grand Canyon. Yeah, my toes curled then, too.

So when was the last time you were at the Grand Canyon? Well, it’s time to go back.

Not that it changes much in a span of a few years, except for the manmade stuff. But most peoples’ memories are never as beautiful as the real thing. Head out that way soon and send me a picture of your favorite part.

I’ll love it.


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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.

linda's-roses

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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We Missed ♥ Kevin ♥ but we saw Fort Hayes.

I mentioned that G-Man and I, #2 Son and DIL  went to South Dakota this summer, didn’t I? While we were there, we went to Fort Hayes. The movie wasn’t actually made where the “Fort” stands now, but they are the same buildings and furnishings! This is the room where the crazy guy in DANCES WITH WOLVES gave Kevin his orders.

002 We must have been a little late in the season because the rope maker was gone, but the man who makes pans was there and Nikki learned to make one.

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Nikki and the teacher.

027 Learning!

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Tada!

They had great displays.

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In case you’re wondering, this isn’t My Mother The Car. (Anyone remember that show?) I asked her and she didn’t answer.

Some I wanted to load up and take home with me.

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And we got into a little trouble.

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But Matt knew how to escape.

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He played us a little tune to celebrate!

016Player piano being played.

I really wanted to take this home!

I really wanted to take this bench home! So pretty! But they wouldn’t let it go. 😦

I loved this wagon.

I loved this wagon, too, although I’m not sure what it was used for in the movie.  (Have you noticed? There wasn’t much I didn’t like.)

We had a great time at Fort Hayes! It would have been even better if Kevin Costner had shown up. I might have let him Dance with a Wolf. (Hey, Jazzy!)

 

 


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First Day Vacay

When you think of your favorite vacation, where did you go?

G-Man and I don’t take a big vacation every year. (By “big” I mean where we go SOMEWHERE and stay gone for an entire week.) The last time we had a real vacation, we went to New Mexico and Arizona. LOVED IT!

This year, we went to South Dakota. Mount Rushmore. Deadwood. Bear Country. #2 Son and DIL went with us. (And yes, I came home with several ideas for new books.)

Drive By Shooting :)

Drive By Shooting 🙂

I snapped this pic on the way to SD. I absolutely loved that brick wall. (If I’d actually stepped outside the car, it could have been fantastic!)

Naturally, the first place we visited was the Presidents’ Heads Monument. (Yeah, some people call it Mount Rushmore, but you know me.)

Here are a few of the pics I took.

Matt and Nikki at the Okie post.

Matt and Nikki at the Okie post.

These two made the visit so much fun! They aren’t afraid of anything and have some great ideas. For instance, this next pic is Nikki, making George look as if she just squished his head.

Nikki fingers.

Nikki fingers.

Here Matt’s making her look as if she’s supporting the presidents.

MR-nikki-and-matt

Here’s some more of my photo-stream from that day.

I used my long lens to get up close and personal with the guys.

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And here I’m checking for boogies in Abe’s nose. (None.)

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We got this picture when Matt stopped the car without being asked so we could grab the pic.

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Several more days and hundreds (literally) more pictures, so I’ll always be able to relive the vacay. I have a feeling this will be one of my all time favorites. (For now, anyway.)

Your fave?