Archive for April, 2007

Posted in Uncategorized on 04/29/2007 by Susan Shay

One of Linda Carne’s illustrations. I’m not sure which of Susie’s books it’s from.

Finals this week.

Posted in writing on 04/29/2007 by Susan Shay

 Not my finals, thank God, but number 3 kiddo’s finals are this week. Two of them are tomorrow! Argh. (Almost as nerve yanking as when I was taking them myself.) So Brad didn’t come home for the weekend. He did run home for a couple of hours to have a good meal (no, I didn’t cook it) pick up his medicine and see Gary, Matt and me.  

Luckily it’ll all be over by Thursday and he can come home for a few days on Friday. The trouble is Thursday I’m going to OKC for a OWFI conference and my first “stranger” book signing, so I won’t get to see the kid until Sunday night. If then. *big sniff*  

I really don’t like going places like this–I never sleep well. But this time Gary’s coming down for a couple of days. That’ll help. Ever noticed how it’s just like being home when you’ve got your honey next to you in bed? I love it! I might even sleep, even though I don’t do much of that at home. And he’ll have a weekend with no work to do. No cars to work on, no walls to paint, no prescriptions to fill. Just kick back and if you get hungry, call room service. Don’t you love it?

BF Meg and Linda will be at OWFI, so we’re planning to have a great time together. And if we’re lucky, BF Marilyn might decide to go down just to hang with us. It’s just not the same if she’s not there. If things run true to course, though, they’ll load up and go shopping while I wander from one workshop to the next. I hate the idea of paying for a conference and not attending workshops. Just can’t do it.

Oh, and another Clevelandite will be there, too. Linda Carnes, super artist, has signed up to go. I can’t wait to see what happens while she’s there. I just know she’ll knock ’em dead with her illustrations. She’s that good! She’s done paintings in dentists offices, private homes and at our schools. She did the illustrations for all Susie Lunsford’s children’s books. Check them out:  http://themagicalwishingwellforest.com/author.htm  

So I’ve spent most of this weekend printing, laminating and cutting out bookmarks and making business cards. Keep your fingers crossed that there’ll be someone at the signing to give them to. And that I don’t hyperventilate. If I do, just throw a bag over my head and ignore me.

      

Critique

Posted in writing on 04/28/2007 by Susan Shay

Yay! Today BF Marilyn and I are getting together for a critique session. I used to hate anyone who was critical toward me, but now I can’t wait. I guess it’s a writing thing. <g> Of course, I’m the only one getting critiqued (I wouldn’t think of critiquing my critiquer) but I absolutely love it.

I remember my first request for a critique. At the time I didn’t know anyone who could do a competent job, so I entered a contest just for the judge’s comments. Talk about a knife to the heart. Her comments were extremely harsh. She thought it was so bad, she didn’t even finish filling out the questionnaire. Never mind that she was right, there was no encouragement. No help. It was just filled with venom. They announced the names of the judges at that contest. I haven’t forgotten her, and I’ve never bought one of her books. If she’d been just the tiniest bit encouraging, I would have been her fan forever. 

Back to today. We’re going to eat at The White River Fish Market. (1708 N. Sheridan Road in Tulsa.) I haven’t eaten there in months and boy, have I been craving it. YUMMY!

Then we have a little shopping to do for Romance Writers Ink, and maybe a little for ourselves. <G> And somewhere along the way, we’ll grab a cup of coffee and she’ll go through my pages and tell me what’s wrong.

Did I mention BF Marilyn isn’t the only person who critiques me? We have another BF Meg. But Meg isn’t local, so she emails me her thoughts on my stuff.  We love it when we can all get together. Plotting parties are the best! And then there are the ladies in RWI. It’s funny how they often find things that no one else notices. Even the beginners.

 I’m not a great grammar guru nor a punctuation pollyanna, so I welcome all the help I can get.  The best part is, these women usually get my sense of humor, which can be a little off center sometimes.   

Marilyn and I used to get together weekly, but there’s been all kinds of upheavals (medically speaking) in her family for going on 9 month now, so we just get together when we can.

It’s really wonderful when critique partners become friends, too. To have people in your life who understand the ups and downs of writing is like having a piece of heaven on earth. They even get it when you mention the people talking in your head. And no one calls the guys in white jackets.

What’s your favorite thing about having other writers in your life?        

Rejection sucks.

Posted in writing on 04/27/2007 by Susan Shay

For my friendYes, this is about a manuscript’s rejection, but not my manuscript (at least not this time). The real shocker is that the manuscript belongs to an excellent and seasoned author. The woman has published book after book and kept me reading, often when I should have been at the keyboard myself.

But these books are a little different, especially for her. While she normally writes romantic suspense, and about that emotional glide into love, these are humorous outside-the-box stories. To write them a sense of humor that comes from the heart as well as an imagination that’s out there is essential. I’ve read just a little of one and absolutely loved it. More than loved it. I wanted to keep reading to the HEA ending. Then I wanted to read it again. And again.

Yeah, it was that good.

So what do you do when a friend gets a rejection? I’d love to send a bouquet flowers for each one, but I know too many writers, most of whom garner a rejection from time to time.

If I were so rich I couldn’t find enough things to do with my money, I’d send those bouquets, though. To my friend who takes a rejection so hard she thinks of giving up, I’d send an bouquet of snapdragons.  To the pal who dashes off a first draft, then shoots it to all the agents/editors she knows, I’d give a single bromeliad bloom. For all the yet-to-be-sold buddies with tender souls, I would send a vase full of Stargazer Lillies, and for myself, I’d take a whole bunch of tulips. (The meaning of tulips is true love–besides, I just plain like ’em.)

 And for my friend with the great paranormal storyline that’ll make you laugh out loud? An armload of orchids for her rare and fabulous talent.

I don’t have that kind of money, so I’ll just tell her that I know these books will sell. They have to. When a work is as good as that, there has to be a place in the publishing world for it.

Without a doubt.      

    

Aunt Betty Butt

Posted in This and that on 04/26/2007 by Susan Shay

One day several years ago, I noticed that I’d received my inheritance from my Aunt Betty. I got her butt. Honest, I have an exact replica of my aunt’s hind end. No, it’s not the pretty kind that’s small and round in just the right spot. It’s shaped more like a ham. A full ham, if you get my drift. So naturally I named my butt Aunt Betty.

How can you keep from joking about a ‘blessing’ like that? If I accidentally bump someone, I tell them Aunt Betty’s getting out of hand, that sort of thing.

Recently I noticed, Aunt Betty’s trying to take over the world, and she’s growing with leaps and bounds. (Sort of moves that way, too.) What did I do about it?

I joined the local gym.

BF Marilyn Pappano got way too much enjoyment out of that. When she stopped laughing and could breathe again she said, “I can’t believe you joined a gym. That would be like Julia Sugarbaker (Designing Women) pumping iron and sweating. I just can’t see it.”

When I told her our gym used to be a church, she laughed even harder. (Maybe her Aunt Betty is small because she keeps laughing it off. At me.) “Is that so when you work out you can pray to survive?”

Yeah. Or die.

The first day I put on headphones with a tape from RWA National so I wouldn’t have to listen to myself pant and wheeze, and started out on the treadmill. Five minutes to warm up. Then I headed for the weight machines. Thankfully no one else was there at the time. I worked my inner thighs, then my outter thighs. Then my front thighs. (Who knew they had so many machines for specific areas?) Then I did a twisty thing that I think is to whittle my waist. Next I saw an interesting machine with handle bars hanging down in front. Not paying too much attention to the actual contraption itself, I straddled the mechanism and plopped onto the seat. I missed. (On the right side.)

With a little chuckle, I got up and plopped down again. And I miss, again. (This time on the left side.) Dang! It’s pretty bad when you aren’t smarter than a big chunk of metal.

Grabbing the seat with both hands, I got onboard and balanced in the middle. But I couldn’t make the thing work. I have a “bad” shoulder that the doctor did shrinky dink surgery on–used a laser to shorten the ligament that holds the ball in the joint–so I try not to put too much stress on it. That machine was too much stress.

 When I got off the thing with the dodging seat, I found someone else had come in and was on a treadmill, but I hadn’t heard them because of the headphones.

I just hope she got a lot of enjoyment out of her afternoon. 

I skipped a day because of my volcano belly, then went back again. This time a friend was there who could show me the ins and outs of the machines. (I’m not a person who can look at a machine and instantly know how it works. Big surprise.) Last year I asked this same woman if she wanted to walk the cemetery with me and she answered, “I doubt I could walk around my car, much less the cemetery.”

So we worked out together. Sort of. This woman is a year or two (ahem) younger than me, and has been working out for only 2 1/2 weeks. When she’s at the gym, it’s the machines that get the workout. She knows how all of them work and puts them to good use. After lifting weights for an eternity, I was ready to leave, but she tempted me back to the treadmill. (I’d already warmed up on it for 5 minutes before I machined.)

So we walked together for 20 minutes. And the entire time, my heartrate stayed 20 beats a minutes above hers. I wonder if years and heartrate have a connection?     

Did I mention I forgot to take a bottle of water? Needless to say, by the time I was through, I needed a drink . . . of water. <g>

And now I feel wonderful–sore muscles, achy knees and all. I probably wouldn’t need to work out again for a while, except for the fact that Aunt Betty is still hanging in there. Or out there. Way out.  So I’ll pop back over tonight and at least walk the treadmill. And even if my friend’s not there to work out with me, I’ll always have Aunt Betty to keep me company.

Posted in This and that on 04/25/2007 by Susan Shay

Joke

Stormy Tuesday

Posted in writing on 04/25/2007 by Susan Shay

Was yesterday as taxing for everyone else as it was for me? The day started about 3 am when I woke up with a fire raging in my belly. I’d taken too many aspirins on an empty stomach (I didn’t realize it was empty) and it burned my tummy. So I was in agony for the entire day. No matter how many antacids I ate, the fire would not go out. Eating bread helped ease the heat a little, but hurt my diet a lot. *sigh*

Have I mentioned I work in a family business? My dad’s the boss. (His brothers are bosses, too. They just aren’t in the office much.) Then there’s my brother, my sister, my son, several cousins and a second cousin.

Anyway while getting ready for work yesterday, I thought about an assignment I’d been given the day before. Type, copy, stamp and mail. I couldn’t remember making copies, and I’d already mailed it. Talk about stupid! My brother, who’d given me the assignment, wasn’t at work yet, so I was left to figure it out on my own. Several phone calls and a lot of sweet-talking (not whining!) later, I had a promise. The people I mailed it to would make the copies and send them to me. (Thanks, ladies!) The stress did not help my mid-section any. I think I ate half a loaf of bread while figuring that one out.

Then the sky turned green. Perfect weather for the way the day was going. Checking out Weather Bug, I saw an angry red band on the radar (indicating intense storms) and it was almost over Stillwater, where son number three is in college. Since the kiddo lives in a mobile home, and in Oklahoma mobile homes are tornado/high wind magnets, I made another phone call. (Thankfully, no one counts how many phone calls I make a day.)

Yeah, he knew it was coming. Yes, he was careful. Of course he knew where the tornado cellar was. By the way, since his new shoes were in (birthday present) how would I feel about taking them to him? The boy has no respect for storms. <g>

Next we got a phone call that the town 10 miles north of us had blown the tornado siren. One of our secretaries takes her baby to a sitter there, and the baby was in the church basement. I thought the woman was amazingly calm to have her child in the path of a killer tornado. Of course, the baby’s grandmother was in the same basement, so she wasn’t alone.

Work stopped about that time. We all looked out the windows and saw the sky had turned green. Greenage, as they called it in TWISTER. And the wind was blowing so hard the heavy rain was going sideways, not even hitting the ground. I think they had a name for that in the movie. Was it surf? At least we didn’t have cows blowing through the air (I was disappointed) but we had a lot of thunder and lightning. Made me wonder about the sanity of people they call storm chasers. It looks like fun in the movies, but in the midst of the real thing, I knew a guy would have to be nuts to go looking for it.

The storm was the perfect ending for yesterday. Hopefully I won’t have another one of those days for at least . . . oh, a week maybe.       

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