Archive for May, 2008

They Got the Breaks

Posted in writing on 05/28/2008 by Susan Shay

Did you ever have a friend that life picked on? I do.

Not that she didn’t get her share of blessings (and more!) but she keeps having accidents.

One year at Christmas she was so sick, it took her a month to get over her illness. Another she was bitten by a brown recluse and was in the hospital for several days. Then she was knocked down by one of the dogs she adopted and broke her elbow.

Here’s her most recent mishap: My friend had a pile of rocks by her sidewalk, ready to be turned into a wall for a raised bed. Yesterday she was going to the car and tripped over one. She caught herself with her right hand–and broke her wrist.

And her broken wrist doesn’t just make life hard for her, it makes it hard on all of us because she’s a super writer. We’ll all suffer while we wait for BF Marilyn Pappano’s next scheduled book unless she hires someone to type it for her. 馃槮

Marilyn called me last night to see how I was doing. When I asked the same of her, she said she’d broken her wing. And it hurt like the devil–even with the pain shot the doc had given her. And today she has to go to the surgeon to get it “fixed” and casted. (I’m sure she used the proper words, but they don’t stick in my head.)

And, I’m sad to say,聽my favorite聽nephew, Kyle, broke his leg/ankle over the weekend. (In case you’re wondering, all my nephews are my favorites. 馃槈 )He was at the lake and because it was so far into Tulsa, had to be life flighted.聽 It was a compound fracture. MS sent me a picture of the ankle after the surgery (when they put in two plates and several screws) and it’s not a pretty sight. I’ll see if I can figure out a way to share it with you here.

Kyle’s another one of those people who has a ton of blessings, but also a problem or two. 馃槮 He was diagnosed with MS when he was 12 or so, but it doesn’t slow him down a bit. (He drives a black Hummer and has a beautiful fiancee.聽 See what I mean about blessings?)

Anyway, as you go about your day today, keep these two in your prayers.

They need all the help they can get.

Memorial Memories

Posted in writing with tags , , , , , on 05/24/2008 by Susan Shay

Whenever I think of Memorial Day, I think of the year I was pregnant with our first son. My DH had wanted a sailboat for sometime, so we finally bought one. A twenty foot Daysailer with a cuddy cabin. (You can see a picture of them here.) 聽

Memorial Day dawned beautiful. The sky was brilliant blue with only a crown of clouds around the horizon. We went to his parents for lunch, then took out the boat. His parents and younger brother decided to go with us. His parents didn’t want to go in the boat so they stayed on shore. After insisting he wear a bright orange life jacket, Younger Brother, DH and I loaded up and took off.

We went to the end of the area we were in, and were turning around to sail back past his parents so we could wave at them when the wind died. And when I say died, I mean D-I-E-D.聽There wasn’t a breath of a breeze anywhere. It felt as if we’d all donned heavy wool coats. 聽

“It’s hot!” YB complained. “Can I take off my life jacket?”

“No!” DH and I both answered.

Luckily, there’s a law that you must have a paddle in the boat, so DH, at the back of the boat,聽started working our way toward home.

That’s when I heard a distant roar. I had no idea what it was, but it scared me to death. “Can you hear that?”

“Hear what?” DH wasn’t in a really good mood with sweat pouring into his eyes.

“That sound. It like a great big wind, heading our way.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“It’s either a great big wind or someone is riding a motor cycle down the middle of the lake!” I snapped.

Before he could answer me, the wind caught up with us. It filled the sail and the jib, and before we could catch our breaths, tilted the boat high on its edge. I sat close to the cuddy cabin on the low side, and when I glanced at YB to see that he was okay, I saw him bail聽off the high side into the stormy lake.

Then we capsized. I grabbed the two loose life jackets and put one under each arm to keep them from being washed away.

YB swam up close to me and grabbed the end of the boat. DH worked hard to pull himself onto the top of the bottom of the boat. While he was pulling himself up, YB said, “Quick, Susan, take this.”

“This” was the rudder–which is solid iron and acted like an anchor in my hand, weighing me down so low, I could barely keep聽 my nose above water.

Then DH said, “Hand me one of those life jackets, Susan. I’ll put it on.”

I started scissor kicking hard to keep the water out of my mouth. “I can’t. I’m holding the rudder. If I give you a life jacket, I’ll go to bottom.”

“Why are you holding the rudder?”聽

I was a little irritated. “Because your brother pulled it out and I didn’t want to have to buy another one.”

He looked down from his safe spot. “Okay. Hand it to me.”

“Hand it to you? How? I can barely keep it where it is. I sure can’t lift it.”

Oh.” Getting on one knee, he reached down and took the rudder, placing it next to him. “You all get up here.”

YB climbed up and sat on the sloping portion, then we looked toward shore. DH’s mother was running up and down the beach as if she thought we were going to be swept out to sea at any moment. (Oklahoma is a long way from the sea, but that didn’t enter her mind. Her baby was in trouble.)

His father found someone who had a boat with an engine and sent them out to rescue us. But the waves were so high and the wind so bad, each time they got close, they almost landed on top of us. They had to give up.

In a while a man with long hair, wearing only a pair of cutoffs and carrying an empty gallon milk carton came wading into the lake, then swam toward us.

“Go back! Go back!” DH yelled.

The guy ignored him. When he got there, he told us he was with lake rescue.

“What’s the milk carton for?” I asked.

“It’s to tie to the mast in case we have to drop it.”

He told DH to get off the boat, go underneath and break the mast over. DH went under, but it took him so long to find the mast and do the necessary adjustments in the dark, the stranger thought he was going to have to rescue him.

DH finally popped back out, safe and sound. With the mast now hinged instead of fixed, the wind was able to blow the boat onto its side. We easily pushed it to shore.

A bit upset (and in my first trimester of pregnancy) I got in the truck and let DH and his dad load up.

Although we still own it, we only went out on that boat one more time. It was a Fourth of July when the wind blew so hard, it forced us against the rocks under the railroad trestle.Unwilling to chance capsizing again, I whistled down a passing boat and got us a tow back to shore.

What are your favorite Memorial Day memories? Sprucing up the cemetery with your grandparents when you were a kid? Going on聽picnics with聽your families? Vacations that span the weekend? Or for you, was Memorial Day聽just a day to catch up on yard work?




Posted in writing with tags on 05/23/2008 by Susan Shay

I’ve never been a person who lived for weekends because I’ve alway聽enjoyed my job. Or the people I work with. But it seems more and more, my weekends are becoming the focus.

Mainly because I wasn’t getting them.

Oh, Saturday and Sunday kept coming, but they haven’t been acting like they were supposed to.

They’ve been full of things I had to do. First it was my RWA chapter meeting AND BB’s birthday, then DH’s birthday, the trip to Nawlins — not that I’m complaining 馃檪聽聽 –but I couldn’t get those poor plants in the ground.

And last week, I promised to work on the house that MS is going to move in to in about a month. So what’s a mother to do?

I came home from work Friday night聽and TOILED in my 9′ x 50 ‘ garden until dark-thirty. First I had to remove the weeds that聽thought they’d found a home, then I put down聽a weed barrier, like I wanted the guy to do when he built the garden.聽

He’d assured me that I wouldn’t need it. He was going to kill off all vegetation with Roundup (ha!) then use a pre-emergent called Hot Shot (or something equally as silly) to聽keep them from coming back.

And I fell for it.

The next morning I got up and was out as soon as it was light. I planted my birthday flowers (cannas, phlox and campions) then mixed in several tomatoes and peppers. Four yellow peppers and a green one. Four patio tomatoes and a couple of bigger ones. And one dill plant.

After that I poured root starter on all of them and headed to the other house.

I mowed the lawn there. It was only knee high–thanks to all the rain lately–so I had to go over most of the lawn twice. It wasn’t so bad. There are a pair of young dogs in a nearby yard I like to play with. I’ve nicknamed them Buddy (a yellow lab) and Little Man. They’re so sweet! And act as if I’m their favorite person in the world.

I just love dogs and babies. Don’t you?

Anyway, I went inside was assigned a new job. Take up the flooring in the kitchen.

I stared at it for a moment. “You really think I can do that?”

“I’m positive you can,” 聽DH assured me. (I’m goint to start ducking every time someone assures me of anything.) “First take off the quarter round.”

He gave me the necessary tools and told me not to worry about tearing it up. We’d have to replace it with new stuff anyway. So I got busy. It was really kind of fun using the pry bar, banging with the hammer, ripping out the little nails.

After an hour or so, I’d finished. Then DH gave me a scraper that looked like a garden hoe with the business end flattened out. “Go for it.”

I went for it. For about two minutes, I shoved and pushed and jammed and kicked. Then I collapsed in a sweating, dust heap. DH took over and worked a lot long than I did. (I think he could do that since he has muscles instead of those shakey things on his arms.)

After a while, MS came into the room. “Let me work on it awhile.” He stayed at it a lot longer than I could, but not as long as DH.

The rest of our day was spent ripping up that floor.

Finally we finished with the flooring, and some of the wood below it, ripped out and tossed away.

There’s a lot more to do before MS can move in, but we’re closer. DH has to work this holiday weekend and I intend to spend it in my garden. ,

Of course, I’ll have to do the cemetery thing a few times. We took flowers to Gary’s folks’ grave yesterday, and Amy and her girls and I will take them to the local cemetery today.

I love seeing the people who’ll come home only once this year, and that’ll be to decorate their聽family’s graves.聽The love they have for those who’ve gone on shows so brightly on this one day of the year.

So how will you spend Memorial Day? At the lake? Decorating graves? Cooking outside and picnicing?

Come on. Tell!

Another Year!

Posted in writing with tags , on 05/21/2008 by Susan Shay

Yesterday was our wedding聽anniversary. DH and I officially celebrated while we were in Nawlins, but I couldn’t let the “real” night pass without something special.

MS and I went to Tulsa to find flooring for the house he’s moving in to. (I have yet to tell you about my fantastic weekend. Maybe tomorrow.)

So while we were there, we stopped at Bodean’s, a聽great seafood shop. (Fantastic for a land-locked state like Oklahoma.) MS stayed in the truck while I went inside. Bodean’s has a new store because the freeway is taking out their old one. The new one is larger, but the old one had character–to the eyeballs.

Anyway, I walked in the door and there were three or four good looking guys chatting away. I have no idea what the subject was, because they all swallowed their words and stared. At me.

It reminded me of the time in college when I went into the McDonald’s. The guy who I’d gone steady with for four years (four!) and I聽had just broken up and he worked there. All the guys working with him went to the back, leaving my ex-guy alone to wait on me. And they s-t-a-r-e-d!

So what’d I do yesterday? Took a left turn (no matter how good looking they are, I can always take a left turn) and stolled down the fish counter.

One followed, but he stopped staring and actually helped. I took home a couple of lobster tails and grilled them along with a sirloin. Yummers, dude! The lobsters were delish! And the steak done just enough.

What’d we do afterward? Watched Dancing With the Stars, of course! I got so mad!

I do not want Christie to win. She’s a professional skater, man. No fair! All she did was take off her skates.

DH laughed at me for getting so riled up over her perfect scores, but honestly! She’s a ringer. 馃槮

Happy Squirrel Day

Posted in writing on 05/16/2008 by Susan Shay

The Two of UsYesterday was the opening of squirrel hunting season here in Oklahoma.

It was also my doctor’s birthday. (I called to tell him hbd, but he’d taken the day off. Lucky guy.)

And, most importantly, it was Sister Debbie’s birthday. Actually, she said she wasn’t having birthdays anymore, so we switched mid-tune from HAPPY BIRTHDAY to OH, HAPPY DAY.

SD is secretary to the principal (who just happens to be our bil) at the middle school. Being around kids that age will either kill you or keep you incredibly young. SD is just a kid.

SD and I shared a bedroom and lots of adventures growing up. Shared memories is one of the best things about having siblings. All you have to do is say, “remember the time . . . ” and the laughter–or tears–start.

Sometimes just a phrase that does it.

Monster dog.

Aunt Phyllis at the lake.聽

Mono and you.

You visited my college and聽the guys swarmed. . . .

You were my maid of honor.聽 I was yours.

Remember when you had your first baby and I almost passed out?聽 How I cried when he turned yellow?

Do you know who said, “Shouldn’t we put him up now?”

How about–“Jacque’s dead.”

The hay barn’s on fire.

Life is full of ups and downs, and we’ve had our share of both. But with family close, the bad ones are better . . . and the good ones are fantastic!

Thanks, Deb, for keeping life interesting. And happy squirrel day.

Saturday Thrills

Posted in writing with tags , , , , , on 05/15/2008 by Susan Shay

Our RWI meeting was Saturday. I know it’s Thursday. Wonder why I’m just now telling you about the meeting?

I’m just now catching up.

When I walked into the meeting Saturday (during the critique session) I noticed a blond woman who wasn’t a member, but didn’t pay much attention. We frequently have visitors. Especially when we have great authors such as Jaci Burton as our speaker.

Later, at the start of the meeting, we all introduced ourselves.

(Question of the month for the introduction: What is — or was — your mom’s favorite book? Would you know? If not, find out!)

I was first (I made up the question) then finally we got to the blonde. “My name is Ann . . . .”

As I listened to her talk, her voice sounded familiar. So I turned and looked at her. The way she glanced at the group while she spoke reminded me of someone I used to know. Even the way she held her head was familiar.

She took a breath, so I interrupted. “Tell me your maiden name.”

A look of panic flashed in her eyes. Her lips trembled. (That might have been because I was on my feet, heading her way.) “Uuh, my maiden name? It was聽. . . Sudberry.”

“Sudberry!” I said at the same time. “I’m Susan Spess! I was your roommate at college!”

“Spesser?” She jumped up and grabbed聽me around the neck. “I can’t believe it!”

We laughed and cried and talked, trying to catch up on the last few years. It was great! Come to find out, Ann is a writer, too. Mysteries! Award winning!

We were in drama together in college–she won the drama award, not me. *sniff* We did “The Robe” together (I was the SIL, she was the聽wife)聽and went to聽Colorado to do the play for several churches聽around Denver.

I was even in her wedding.

Then our illustrous Jaci Burton spoke to us about what we need to do before and after the sale. Jaci is a smoking hot writer–in more聽ways than one! She’s selling books every day, it seems and the books themselves are . . . hot!

She advised us to write the book, choose a pen name, buy the聽domain for it and set up a website. Continue writing. Get your name out there. Volunteer. Look into publicity. Blog. Guest blog. Do interviews. There was tons of great advise.

The most important thing I heard was, Know when to put the book聽that hasn’t sold away. So many writers I know feel as if they can’t go on to another story until they’ve聽sold the first.

I have a few books so deeply ensconced under聽my bed, they’ll never see the light of day. Moonshadow.聽Oklahoma and a Cowboy to Boot. Picture a Cowboy. Great titles, not so great writing. But they were fantastic learning experiences. Just don’t ask BFs Marilyn Pappano and Margaret E. Reid about them.

It’s not seemly for grown women to roll across the floor and wet their pants laughing. 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽

I’m a Finalist!!!

Posted in writing on 05/14/2008 by Susan Shay


I’m a finalist in the More Than Magic Contest. Tell you the truth, I was shocked when I heard the news. Me! A finalist!!!

And I’m happy dancing all over the ceiling. Here’s the list–

路 Trouble by Sasha White
Wild, Wicked & Wanton by Jaci Burton 馃檪
路 Skin by Karin Tabke
路 Blood Red by Sharon Page
First Book:
To School A Cowboy by Susan Shay 馃槈
路 The Man for Maggie by Lee McKenzie McAnally
路 A Wish in Time by Laurel Bradley
路 Dark Rider by Kathryn Dennis
路 The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans
路 His Captive by Diana Cosby
路 One Real Cowboy by Janette Kenny
路 The Accidental Mistress by Tracy Anne Warren
路 His Favorite Mistress by Tracy Anne Warren
路 Dark Awakening in Shards of Crimson by Patti O鈥橲hea
路 Secret Santa in Christmas Presence by Lisa Childs
路 The Spinster, the Pig & the Orphan in Foxy Statehood Hens and Murder Most Fowl by Jacqueline King 馃檪
路 Atlantis Awakening by Alyssa Day
路 Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day
路 Betrayed by Jamie Leigh Hansen
路 Lady of Light and Shadows by C. L. Wilson
Romantic Comedy:
路 Borrowing Alex by Cindy Procter-King
路 Over Hexed by Vicki Lewis Thompson
路 The Quest for the Holy Veil by Kimberly Llewellyn
Romantic Suspense:
Scorched by Rachel Butler 馃檪
路 Salvation, Texas by Anna Jeffrey
路 The Perfect Stranger by Jenna Mills
路 Love, Lies, and a Double Shot of Deception by Lois Winston
Sensual Contemporary:
路 The Rancher Needs a Wife by Terry McLaughlin
路 The Other Sister by Lynda Sandovol
路 D茅j脿 You by Lynda Sandovol
One Stormy Night by Marilyn Pappano 馃檪
Single Title:
路 Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
路 Sweet Return by Anna Jeffrey
路 Really Something by Shirley Jump
Sweet Contemporary:
路 Remembered by Tamera Alexander
路 The Man for Maggie by Lee McKenzie McAnally
路 The Doctor鈥檚 Pregnancy Bombshell by Janice Lynn

In case you’re wondering, the highlighted ladies with happy faces are close friends.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

%d bloggers like this: