Archive for July, 2007

Swiped from Jaci Burton

Posted in This and that on 07/30/2007 by Susan Shay

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current street name)
Mike Westpoint (ack!)

2. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your middle name) Scar–I like that one. <g>

3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Red Hummingbird

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Caroll Tulsa

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom’s maiden)
Shasure (Sashay would be better.)

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The”, your favorite color, favorite drink) Red Diet Dr. Pepper (Am I doing this right?)

7. NASCAR NAME: (the first name of your grandfathers)
Ray Julius

8. FUTURISTIC NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name of your favorite kind of shoes)
Pink Stilettos (I like Romance, too, but Pink works better with my shoes. <g>)

9. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother & father’s middle name)
Sue Ray

Come on. Play with me!

To School a Cowboy Reviewed

Posted in writing on 07/30/2007 by Susan Shay

TO SCHOOL A COWBOY was reviewed by Fallen Angel Reviews. Here’s a little of what was written: To School a Cowboy is a sweet romance about a father’s love for his daughter showing that there are some men out there who takes extra special care for their children. I fell in love with the little girl and her father. Boone is unlike many men and will forget about work just to make sure his little girl is happy even going as far as opening a day care with a woman that he doesn’t trust that much.

Click on the link to read the rest of what Lena C wrote.

If you haven’t been there before, you should check out their website. It’s just as cute as it can be with a whole flock of angels pictured. Some of them made me want to ask, Are you a good angel or a bad angel?

I doubt if there are any “bad” angels, but some looked really spicy. <g>

Thank you, Lena C, for your review!  

Approved or Non-Approved Publishers. That’s Some Question.

Posted in writing on 07/29/2007 by Susan Shay

I first published this article in RWI’s Inklings. 

I’ve never wanted to be Nora Roberts. All I ever wanted to do was develop characters I love, come up with heart wrenching conflict, tell their stories and then release them to the world. Okay, maybe I’d like to make a little money along the way. But having my name become a household word isn’t on that list. (I’ll admit I put “become a New York Times multi-published best selling author” on my 2007 goals, but that was for grins.)  

So after working hard at my craft for lo, these past years, I had an epiphany. It happened when Meg Reid, who I’ve critiqued with since the beginning, sold her first book, From the Shadows, to The Wild Rose Press. *Gasp* An “unapproved” (by Romance Writers of America) publisher? What would people think?  That she sold out just to say she’s published? Did she stoop because none of the big houses wanted her story just because it was a little different?  

That’s when the light bulb smacked me right up side the head.

In the past few years, I’d written seven manuscripts. The first five were targeted toward one approved publisher, and when they were rejected, the manuscripts were, for all intents and purposes, dead. Under the bed was getting a little crowded. What was I going to do?

Oh, someday, when a really smart editor discovered she loved my voice more than chocolate and strawberries, I’d have quite a backlog of manuscripts to sell. Right? Comforting thought.

Do epiphanies ever give you headaches? Epiph was certainly giving me one. (The epiphany and I were on a first name basis by now.) Several authors who’d sold to “non-approved” publishers came my mind. Names like Jaci Burton, Jackie Kramer, Sharon Ervin, Jackie King, Peggy Fielding, Gloria Harchar and Michele Bardsley. I wondered why—but a better question might have been, why not?

About that time, I remembered Ghost Busters. Janine Melnitz asked, “Do you read much?” 

Dr. Egon Spengler answered, “Print is dead.”

Is print dead? No, of course not. But is print the only way? I decided to find out. I sent out a questionnaire to several authors who’d published with print and E-books. Here are the results:

There were many non approved publishers mentioned. Hard-Shell Word Factory, The Wild Rose Press, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press, Loose Id, Mundania Press, Whiskey Creek Press, Five Star and AWOC.

My question asking why sell to a “non” instead of an approved publisher, started telling the story. Peggy Fielding (Chik-Lit For Foxy Hens—AWOC) said she sold to AWOC because she knew the publisher, knew him to be absolutely honest, and because he pays royalty by the month rather than just twice a year. He also gives a numerical count of the number of books sold for each month. The short turn-around time being able to reach him by phone or email was a plus. And “AWOC maintains a 10 best seller list that is revised day to day. I love seeing my book on the list day after day, month after month, year after year.”

Jackie Kramer (Warrior’s Heart—Five Star) felt the input on the final product, especially the front cover meant a lot. Also the fact that books are available on the market longer and the publisher is more willing to take a chance on a new author.

Gloria Harchar (Enchanted by Magic—Dorchester) says there are a lot of pros to selling to an unapproved publisher. You can get your name out there in order to start developing a fan base. No pressure of high sell-throughs.

Jaci Burton (Surviving Demon Island—Bantam Dell) said, “I was targeting NY publishers when a writer friend told me about Ellora’s Cave. I read a few of their e-books and fell in love with their erotic romance. I had always written hot love scenes and felt that my writing was a good fit for this publisher, so I wrote a book targeted to them.”

Michele Bardsley (I’m the Vampire, That’s Why—Signet Eclipse) said, “I shopped my stories to an electronic publisher because I wanted publication and I wanted to share my books with readers. . . I had to decide if I wanted to control my own career or if I wanted RWA’s approval. I decided my writing was more important than the blessing of RWA.

When asked if they would advise other writers to sell to a non, there were several answers. “I’m not sure I’d recommend going this way, but it has worked for me.” And “—as long as you research the publisher carefully, make sure they’re financially sound, with an excellent reputation and are going to be in business for awhile.” And, “Yes, if they are paid for their work. No, if they had to pay anything to get published.”

Another question was about the money and how it’s paid. The approved publishers pay advances, while the amounts vary. Non’s rarely pay advances, but it seems most pay royalties monthly while some pay quarterly. Most approveds pay only twice a year.

Finally I asked, “Anything you’d like to say about selling to one?”

Margaret E. Reid (From the Shadows—TWRP), “Dealing with the wonderful women at TWRP has been a pleasure. Not only do they believe in their small house, they are working hard on promotions for all their authors, constantly on the look out for great new submissions, have contests, and I’m grateful to have found them.”

Sharon Ervin, (Chik-Lit for Foxy Hens—AWOC) said, “Absolutely I would sell to a non-approved publisher, again and again, and probably will.” And, “I believe an author pretty well determines her own destiny. Work like the devil and the effort probably will be rewarded. That’s certainly more likely than if one sits moping because she can’t get into an RWA-approved house. I’d advise any author to take what’s offered and enjoy it.”

Peggy added, “Investigate. Don’t let the folks scam you. A writer’s life is tough so be sure the publisher you contact is legitimate.”

Jaci said, “A good publisher may be just starting out and waiting to sell the appropriate time in business and volume of books to qualify for RWA recognition. There’s no reason to wait for RWA approval to submit to them if you like the publisher.”

Gloria said, “Just be sure that you make your manuscript as clean as you possibly can. Have your critique group edit it, or someone else besides yourself look the material over.”

Jackie King (Chik-Lit For Foxy Hens—AWOC) concluded, “Never sign with any publisher simply because they have offered you a contract. Make sure the contract is a good one for the writer. It’s probably best to ask another seasoned, published writer to read the contract for you and give you an honest opinion.”

Michele said, “I enjoy writing for e-publishers. I learned a lot about the publication process, about promotion, and about my own writing. Because I did, I was really prepared for selling to a traditional publisher. I had everything in place—loyal readers, promotional savvy, and the knowledge of my own strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I will forever be grateful to those who believed in my first.

So back to me. With a background in retail, I started thinking of my manuscripts as merchandise I have to sell. Time to get the merchandise out, brush it off and set up a few displays for some new customers. Who knows? Some of them might just love what I’ve got in stock.

Potential bumper stickers.

Posted in Funnies on 07/28/2007 by Susan Shay


Friends don’t let friends
take home ugly men

Women’s restroom
Starboard, Dewey Beach, DE

Beauty is only a light switch away.
Perkins Library, Duke University , Durham , NC

If life is a waste of time,
and time is a waste of life,
then let’s all get wasted together
and have the time of our lives.

Armand’s Pizza, Washington , DC

Fighting for peace is like
screwing for virginity.

The Bayou, Baton Rouge , LO


No matter how good she looks,
some other guy is sick and tired
of putting up with her shit.

Men’s Room
Linda’s Bar and Grill, Chapel Hill , NC

At the feast of ego
everyone leaves hungry.

Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, Tucson , AZ

It’s hard to make a comeback
when you haven’t been anywhere.

Written in the dust on the back of a bus,
Wickenburg, AZ

Make love, not war.
-Hell, do both

Women’s restroom
The Filling Station, Bozeman , MT

If voting could really change things,
it would be illegal.

Revolution Books
New York , New York .

If pro is opposite of con,then what is the opposite of progress?

Men’s restroom House of Representatives,

Washington , DC

Express Lane:
Five beers or less

Sign over one of the urinals
Ed Debevic’s, Phoenix , AZ

You’re too good for him.
Sign over mirror in Women’s restroom
Ed Debevic’s, Beverly Hill s , CA

No wonder you always go home alone.
Sign over mirror in Men’s restroom,
Ed Debevic’s, Beverly Hill s , CA

~~~ and perhaps the most realistic one ~~~

A Woman’s Rule of Thumb:
If it has tires or testicles,
you’re going to have trouble with it

Women’s restroom
Dick’s Last Resort, Dallas , TX

Harry Potter and Me

Posted in writing on 07/27/2007 by Susan Shay

Gary and I went to see the latest Harry Potter movie last night. (Maybe I should have called this Harry, Gary and Me.) Gary wasn’t wild about it, but I thought it was great. (Yeah, I’m easy. Give me a movie where I don’t fall asleep. I’ll like it.)

But better than the movie was before the movie.

We decided to see it at the Imax since there’s the 3D portion of the film. Never having been to the Imax in Tulsa, I downloaded the tickets online and we got there 45 minutes early, just like we were instructed.

And we got in line behind about 75 people.

Now standing in line for me is like catnip for a cat. As a people watcher, I had a whole lot of interesting folks to keep me from getting bored.

The first thing I noticed was that there were very few children at the movie. Silly me. I thought Harry Potter was a children’s book/film. Apparently I was wrong.

Then I noticed the guy behind me was reading the newest HP book, which had just come out the midnight before. (I always forget, is midnight the morning of the day you’re in or does it belong to the night before? Is midnight am or pm?) The man was about 50 and very overweight, standing in a line next to his wife, reading a book the size of GWTW. Zowie! I scanned the rapidly growing line behind us, and saw another guy, approximately the same age and size, reading that book.

I’m a voracious reader, and I’ve read books in all kinds of places–in trees, cars (not usually when I’m driving–like some people I know) in bed under the covers with a flashlight (Gone With The Wind) in every state I’ve visited and all the countries, too.

I even read Louis Lamour’s HONDO while on the delivery table when my youngest child was born. (When the doc came in to catch him, the nurse wrestled it away from me. Bi-atch.) But I don’t remember ever being so enthralled with a book that I had to take it with me to read while standing with someone in a line.  

The line in front of us grew quite a bit, too. At first it was just a man and two women. The single woman was very pretty–dark hair, dark eyes, very slim and well dressed. Then her date joined her. You know, the kind of guy that looks like it was too much trouble to comb his hair or put on clean clothes just because it was the start of a new month.

I figured it was a blind date because he looked and talked like a real dork, and she was sharp. Articulate.

But she got a louder, so I didn’t try to hide the fact I was listening. The entire line was listening. “I didn’t have to come with you. This is your thing, honey. I could have stayed home and done my own thing.” 

They were married! I couldn’t help laughing. She was beating him up because she’d done him a favor and gone out with him.

Finally the line started moving. When we got to the head of the line, they handed us a pair of sunglasses. The were really huge (like Simon the chipmonk’s) and orange, which I figured was to keep you from wanting to keep them. Naturally, I had to ask, “Do I get to take these home?”

The kid handing them out grinned. (Probably imagining me in them at the beach.) “No, you have to give them back.”


When we got inside, we found decent seats and watched the blank screen for a while. Then I put on my sunglasses and turned to Gary. “What do you think?”

He laughed outloud.

So I took them back off and held them up. They just looked like sunglasses. “These aren’t anything like the 3D glasses I’ve seen before. Remember? They were cardboard and had one blue lense and one red one.”

“These lenses are probably polarized.”

So? “And that makes them 3D?”

He shrugged. Guess so.

People in theaters don’t talk very loud, even before the movie starts, so I got really bored while we waited. And waited. There weren’t even commercials before the movie to entertain me. 

I’ve been to one other Imax at the Grand Canyon. It was a trip through the GC in a helicopter. Great scenery. Great history lesson. Would I go back? Nah.

But my favorite huge screen experience was a Six Flags ride the last time I was there. (It’s been a while.) Another stand-in-line-and-wait experience. The movie started very quickly after everyone was seated and the lights were out.

Then you were in a jet, flying through canyons. When the jet took off, your chair tilted back. When the jet banked left, the chair tilted left, when you went right, the chair tilted that way. Kind of like INDEPENDENCE DAY when Will Smith was chasing the alien ship, except we didn’t have an alien.

What a howl!!! I loved it! Stood in line to ride it three or four times. Would I like to be in the pilot’s seat in a fighter jet, weaving my way through red canyons? You bet, if I knew how to fly. Or I’d take the co-pilot’s seat if the pilot was someone I trusted.  

Back to HP. Watching a screen that size is a lot of work. You have to be constantly alert, turning your head all the time to keep from missing anything.

And guess what? That keeps you awake.

Great movie.          

Happy birthday, Mom

Posted in This and that on 07/24/2007 by Susan Shay

Today’s my mother’s birthday. I can’t tell you how old she is, because even though she’s not with us anymore, she wouldn’t appreciate it. <G>

Seeing her friends who are still here, I’m able to imagine how she might have aged if were still alive. One just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary, yet she keeps a young attitude about life.

I like to think this is, in part, because of the can-do spirit Mom had her entire life. No matter what her age, she was always interested. Vital. Ready to learn and try new things.

Hopefully that’s one of the gifts I received from her. The ability to keep doing exciting things, going fun places, meeting new friends and keeping up with the old ones until the day I die.

Of course, I might be doing good just to get air in my lungs.  

Tess Gerritsen Fan Club

Posted in writing on 07/21/2007 by Susan Shay

I’m thinking about starting a Tess Gerritsen Fan Club, and making myself president.

To be honest, I just discovered Tess’s books this year, but I’m plowing my way through them as fast as I can. And that’s pretty darn fast. Especially when she keeps me awake night after night so I can find out what’s going to happen.

I also enjoy the heck out of her blogs.

If you’re a writer, read this one:   You’ll be amazed.

I never would have guessed that Tess goes about writing her books the way she does.

 In this blog, she talks about how much she dreads the second draft of her book. (The second time through it.) She tells everything she does that time to get it perfect. (And I thought it was born that way, fresh out of the shell.)

One of the things that shocked me to my toes was that she has to find the chapter breaks!

I gasped outloud when I read that. Not that I haven’t written a book all the way through without chapter breaks, but it was my first time out of the chute. I also wrote it by hand on lined paper that I kept in a 3 ring binder. 

But Tess Gerritsen? THE Tess Gerritsen? Cool!

I, personally, don’t do 2nd drafts. Usually. When everything is chugging along like it’s supposed to, I take my chapters to a critique group every week or so and edit the heck out of them then.

When I get to the end, it’s just that. (Or the beginning, depending on how you want to look at it.)

Anyway, Tess says she dreads that 2nd draft. She’d rather be a donkey pooper-scooper than do the 2nd draft, and that she’d just acquired 5 donkeys. Several people wrote her to ask why donkeys, and she answered, “Because they’re cool.”

I wanted to tell her, but couldn’t log in to post a comment on her blog, so I’ll tell do it here: Hey, Tess! Donkeys are cool because they keep coyotes chased out of your pasture. At least, that’s what my dad says.

Oh, and please don’t stop writing, no matter how hard 2nd drafts are. I’m not sure I could get along without your books.        

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