Archive for February, 2009

First Ever

Posted in writing with tags , , on 02/27/2009 by Susan Shay

Want to know about the first book I ever wrote?

It’s hidden so deep under the bed, I can’t put my hands on it, but I’ll tell you about it.

I wrote it in the late 80’s, I think, or maybe the early 90’s, on notebook paper. By hand. I’d get up early in the morning and scribble away. If one of the kids or DH came into the room, I’d quickly slide the notebook under the couch.  

I didn’t have a title for it. Heck, I didn’t even have chapters. I figured I could pick them both after I finished with the story.

Later, when I took a class given by Debbie Camp, I told the class about my book without chapters, and Debbie was horrified. Or maybe she laughed. She did a lot of laughing while I was in her class.

Funny thing is, I learned a few weeks ago that one of my favorites–a New York Times best selling author–writes her award-winning books like that today.

That’s about the only thing we two had in common. <g>

My book not only didn’t have chapters, it didn’t have conflict. Oh, there were problems, but not between the hero and heroine. There was no reason why they couldn’t be together.

I was so sad when Debbie told me I shouldn’t try to fix that one. But I did as she said–I started a new one for her class, but didn’t finish it. In fact, I finished only one chapter. The one we had to hand in to be graded by Debbie.

The week after I was late getting to class, and while I wasn’t there, she said mine was the best newbie first chapter she’d ever read. I heard it through the grapevine.  

My next completed book, “Moon Shadow”, was about a woman on a cattle drive. It had chapters and conflict and everything because I’d joined Romance Writers of America and a critique group. They didn’t let me get away with not having them.

I learned a ton writing MS, but it didn’t sell. 

After that I wrote “Oklahoma and a Cowboy to Boot” and then “Picture a Cowboy”.

I like to think of them as learning pieces, because they, too, live deep under my bed.

Finally the light came on. I wrote “TO SCHOOL A COWBOY”–my first sale, and a darn good story if I do say so myself. 😉

These days, except for a novella I’m working on, I don’t have many cowboys or horses in my books. You never know when I’ll go back to them.

So tell me about your first book. Not the first one you sold, the first one you wrote in the dark and hid under the couch if anyone came into the room. You don’t even have to have finished it.

I’d just like to know how you started.

Big Love

Posted in writing on 02/23/2009 by Susan Shay

Confession: I LOVE Big Love. blfamily

You know, the HBO series? I Tivo it every Sunday night in case something happens and I can’t get to my TV at 8:00. I look forward to it all week long. I watch it at least 3 times during the week–while it plays. Once in the middle of the week, and again just before the new episode airs.

My DH thinks I’m nuts. “Like you’d put up with anything close to that?”

While I’d have to hurt him if he even considered it, I’m still mesmerized by the show. The long-suffering, hard working and loving husband is Bill Hendrickson played by Bill Paxton. (He was great in True Lies!) Poor Bill relies on “little blue pills” to get him through the night with his three wives. He visits one a night (at least) and need a little boost most nights.

First Wife, Barb, is played by Jeanne Tripplehorn (Tulsa), and one of the big trouble makers is  Mary Kay Place (also Tulsa) the Prophet of Juniper Creek’s #6 wife and Nicki’s mother (Bill Hendrickson’s #2 wife).

I know it’s a little convoluted, but the world of polygamy is a confusing one. 😉

It’s not just the mechanics of a family with one husband, three wives and eight kids and three houses that keeps my attention. It’s the interaction. The little intrigues.

Nikki can be reallybad, and yet she’s forgiven because they’re all “sealed”. Not being a Morman, I’m not sure what that means, but it works for the baddies.

Margeen is young, uber sexy, energetic and gives Bill a great time on her nights. He says he doesn’t need the blue pills for her. (Right) 

Something else that keeps me locked into this show is the way the original 3 kids react and respond to everything that’s happening around them. The older daughter, Sarah, wants NOTHING to do with polygamy.

The son was considering dating a pair of twins at one time with an eye toward marriage to them both.

The youngest daughter, Teeny, doesn’t say much. She’s there, but quiet most of the time–except when she’s showing dirty magazines to the boys in the neighborhood and charging them fifty cents a minute to look.

This is from Big Love: Am-Bushed! about last week:

Sarah (Amanda Seyfried), eldest daughter of Bill and wife #1 Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), revealed to her girlfriend Heather (Tina Majorino) that she’s pregnant, a confidence overheard by one of the pod children from the compound;

– Bill uses muscle to get Barb’s lawyer brother Ted (Patrick Fabian) to stymie anti-casino legislation among the church elders;

— Nicki (Chloe Sevigny), wife #2, is pleased to entertain the romantic interest of Ray Kelly (Charles Esten), her boss in the D.A.’s office where Nicki was working as a mole for her father Roman; and

– troubled teenager Franky (Mark L. Young), who is Bill’s half-brother but 30 years younger, hied off to Nicaragua in search of his banished mother.

The Henrickson family dustup came soon after the wedding, when a dispute rose among the wives as to which house Ana would stay in. Bill’s ruling that Ana would move in with Nicki -the one sister-wife who didn’t want her – quickly proved to be one of those awful executive orders that instantly make everything worse. It was like G.W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.

See how easy it is to get caught up in their lives?

In some ways, this show reminds me of the Sopranos. The subject matter is horrifying, something you’d never even consider . . . but it really keeps your attention.

Writing Sluts

Posted in writing on 02/20/2009 by Susan Shay

I’m being a slut today, talking about how writers get that first idea they develop into a book. Come on over and say hi!

Watch it and Laugh

Posted in writing with tags on 02/19/2009 by Susan Shay

Check this out. It’s pretty funny. I’ve never heard of Louis CK before, but he’s got some pretty good stuff to share.

A Real Slut

Posted in writing on 02/18/2009 by Susan Shay

A Real Slut

This little slut (I call her Rocky) loves the sunflower seeds we put out for our birds. In fact, she has a partner in crime. When I took this picture, another squirrel was waiting below the feeder.

After the pic, I tapped on the window and the squirrel on the chow line bailed and ran. But before I could turn around, the one on the ground had taken her place!

I had to turn Molly out to get that one to leave.

DH’s solution to keeping squirrels out of the bird seed? He built them a squirrel feeder and bought them corn to munch on.

We’re going to have the fattest squirrels in the neighborhood!

Happy Birthday, Cindy!

Posted in writing on 02/17/2009 by Susan Shay

It’s my sister’s birthday. Happy bd, Loulou! Hope it’s a great one.

This sister is a nurse and a mom. Five kids–four of the most beautiful girls you’ll ever meet and a very athletic guy.

Cindy’s done a lot of things I’m not brave enough to do . . . starting with producing 5 kids. She married a preacher. (Not a job for a wiener.) She lived in Texas. (proves she’s a brave woman.) And she home schooled.

Not only is she brave, she deserves a medal! 😉 

Cindy’s the one who showed us how to get our way with Dad, using tears, not words. (Dad’s a softy!) Cindy’s the only one who got left behind. Twice at church and once at home when she was an infant. (Dad was home, but he didn’t know she was there.) 

What else can I tell you about her? Well, she hates mosquitoes (very old family joke) she’s usually patient and kind, and she loves her siblings.

Happy birthday, Sister. Hope it’s a great one!!!

For #4

Posted in writing on 02/17/2009 by Susan Shay


This one’s for you.Susan, Tami and Linda

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