What About Names?

Posted in My World with tags , , , , , , , on 09/15/2010 by Susan Shay

If you talk to a writer, one of the things they fixate on is character names. Unlike real life, for our main characters, the names have to be perfect. A tough guy has to have a tough name. A stand-on-her-own-feet woman needs a beautiful name that doesn’t sound like a little girl.

The name needs to fit!

More about names in a few.  

Know what’s in this picture?

It’s hard to tell, but it’s a “hover” of trout. (That’s another hint about where I’m leading. More about that later. Read on!) 

On our trip to Branson, G-Man and I went to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. We’ve been there before, but always enjoy going back. I love to fish (although I’ve never fished around Branson) and someday I’m going to learn to fly fish!  

They have lots of pools of trout in sizes starting at about the length of your pinky (maybe that’s why they call them fingerlings) to the ones you see above.

There’s even fish food available to feed them. The jump on each nibble like shiver of sharks in a James Bond movie.

Just below the hatchery is what looks to me like a river, but I think it’s Lake Taneycomo, just at the foot of Tablerock dam.

This is looking down Taneycomo. 

Looking toward the dam. Fishermen waded all the way across the lake right here, and kids played everywhere without parents having to worry too much.

These little girls had a cute puppy. At first, they put him down so he could wade in the water, he acted like a cat–hiked his back and lifted first one foot, and then the other, trying to shake the water off.

They picked him up right away.

I asked the girl’s mother’s permission before I took this picture. Aren’t they both adorable?

While we were at the hatchery, G-Man and I saw two couples from C Town! One was a couple I knew individually, but didn’t know were together until they surprised us while we were fish watching. (Hi, Lori and Michael!)

Being terminally curious, I was full of questions but didn’t have the guts to ask. Luckily, I happened onto Lori in the bathroom, where I got the scoop. Talk about being out of the know! I’m so glad I had a chance to catch up.   

They’re both so nice, and just perfect for each other. 😛

G-Man and I drove up river to a turnout so I could get these pictures of Taneycomo.

Those are fishing boats, dotting the lake. Must be deeper here than near the dam.

The lake  is small, but beautiful. Made me wish I  had a boat so I could see more of it.  

Group names–

So I called it a “hover” of trout. Did you know that a school of trout is a hover? I got an information sheet with a few other names of animal groups.

Here are the most interesting:

(From a give away at the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery Fish Hatchery information center.)

A group of badgers is a Cete.

A group of moles is a Labor.

A group of cockroaches is an Intrusion! (No kidding.)

A group of owls is a Parliament.

A group of ravens is an Unkindness.

A group of eagles is a Convocation.

And my favorite–A group of buzzards is a Wake.

Rhinoceroses–a crash.

Porcupines–a prickle.

Kangaroos–a troop.

And elephants? A herd. (Didn’t work real hard on that one, did they?)

The group names really kind of make sense, don’t they? How many did you already know?

Mullendore Mansion aka The Haunted House

Posted in Small Town with tags , , , , , , , , on 09/14/2010 by Susan Shay

When I was in high school, I dated one boy pretty much all the time. He was a nice guy and we had lots of fun together. Once we went to a party at Mullendore Mansion–the most famous house in C Town.

This picture is from www.ocgi.okstate.edu .

The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and really does have quite a history.  Naturally, all the kids in town believe it’s haunted.

Part of history: During the years and years when the place was empty, a friend, my sister and I rode our bikes over there and waded through the high grass to peek in the windows. We wanted to see the ghosts.

Luckily, we didn’t see anything (we absolutely would have wet our pants, and Mom would have figured out what we’d been up to) but we heard what sounded like a giant crunching on bones like Fritos.

At first we all froze. Then someone screamed (probably me) and we ran as fast as we could through the tangle of weeds. We jumped on our bikes and ran away as fast as we could!

Years later a family bought the house and moved in. They had two kids close to our age, so when they had a Christmas party, my boyfriend and I went. There were a ton of kids when we got there.

The parents said, “Hi,” and left us alone. (They went upstairs, so if things got wild, they were closeby to shut us down.)

Someone turned out all the lights, except the Christmas tree.  I’d never been at a party like that before (I also didn’t go parking) so I wasn’t real sure what to do.

Good guy that my boyfriend was, he kissed me maybe once, then took me by the hand and led me to the kitchen where he turned on the lights and taught me every card trick he knew.

After that we told scary stories and munched on the great food the mom had prepared and no one else was eating. A few couples even joined us. 😛 (And that’s probably the reason my mom let me date him all the way through high school.)

This isn’t one of my friend’s card tricks (he was good, but not this good.) My thanks to Arkansas Cyndi for sharing.


Posted in My World with tags , , , , , , , , on 09/13/2010 by Susan Shay

I had a surprise visitor last night. G-Man was upstairs, getting ready for bed and I’d come down to throw something out in the trash. All the lights were off except for the one over the sink.

Naturally, I glanced that way.

At first I wondered if I’d accidently thrown mud or a grass ball earlier, while mowing. (If so, why hadn’t I seen it when I fixed supper?)

I looked closer.

It’s a tree frog. Can you see the little suckers on his toes? He’s hanging on the glass, waiting for a bug to get too close. (I’m hoping they eat spiders, too.) The pictures kind of look like he’s float in mid-air in my kitchen. But he’s not. He’s on the window.

This is the underside of a tree frog. I couldn’t get a picture of the topside. It was too dark out and would have required a flash. And that would have reflected back and blinded me. And the camera. 😛

The Red-eyed Tree Frog (Litoria chloris) found...

Image via Wikipedia


This isn’t my tree frog. This one is found in Austrailia. But isn’t he cute? I’d let him live at my house.

File:GrayTreeFrog2010.jpgThis is probably closer to the way my TF looks. But this isn’t him. It’s Wikipedia’s.

This is mine. I’ll leave the light on again tonight and see if he comes back. If he does I’ll have to think of a name for him. Freddie, maybe? Not exactly original.

My cousin told me he’d had a TF live in his house for several weeks. Since then, I’ve wondered if his gray parrot, Trixie, put an end to the hopper.

 You can learn more about tree frogs here.

Writers Meet

Posted in writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/12/2010 by Susan Shay

Writers groups are filled with the most interesting people, especially when guest speakers come to visit. We even had a visitor or two.

Terminally Curious didn’t even get to sign in.

As I expected, the Hens and their adventurer did a great job.

In this picture, Jackie and Peggy both were talking at once. (I think Jackie was saying something and Peggy decided to help out.)

(Sorry the pictures aren’t very good. I took them with my iPhone.)

The ladies even got Chuck Sasser to wear a boa!

Now I call that being a good sport! He didn’t look exactly comfortable in his feathers, but since I’ve read his bio, I can understand why.

His bio also brought my alter ego, Terminally Curious, out to play. Now I’ve got a million questions to ask him.

1- How long were you in the service?

2- How long were you a cop?

3- How old were you when you were a rodeo clown?

4- How long have you lived in on your ranch?

5- Do you team rope in ranch rodeos?

6 – Do you know Marlboro Man or his wife, Pioneer Woman? And can you get me invited to the house for a weekend? (Not even joking on that one.)

Romance Writers Ink

Posted in writing with tags , , , , on 09/11/2010 by Susan Shay

This is one of my favorite days of the month. It’s RWI’s meeting day, and I’m excited!!! (As usual.) I love getting together with other romance writers. I love talking shop. I loving learning how other people write, market, reach out and go for the gold.  

And I love asking questions and having them answered without anyone blinking an eye. And I have a million of them–hence my other name, Terminally Curious. 😛

Today The Hens are speaking and the wait is killing me. Do you know who they are?

This picture is from RWI’s newsletter, Inklings. Jackie King is the redhead and Peggy Fielding has on the red scarf. (I have the honor of being Peggy’s shirt-tail relative, and I’m proud!)

The Hens have a new book out, which they’ll be signing at the meeting. 

This is from September’s Inklings, too.

I can’t wait to get hold of one! These women have the greatest ideas for stories with a twist that’s usually a shade different from the norm. And sometimes they add a rooster to their  mix. This time it looks like Chuck Sasser is the rooster of choice.

And I hear Marilyn Pappano might be bringing her new knee to meet us–and she’ll have a new book or two to sign. 

I’m not positive if this is Marilyn’s newest book or if she’s whipped out another one or two since we last spoke.

If I could just write with her speed and ability, I’d be one happy camper!

Wait. I am a happy camper–today’s RWI day. I guess I’d be a happier camper. 😉

If you’re out and about today and you’d like a book or two with a personal message written to you by the author(s) meet us at OSU-Tulsa. We’ll welcome you like an old friend!  

Number Four

Posted in writing on 09/10/2010 by Susan Shay

New love, weddings and Colorado. Can you think of anything that’s more fun for Labor Day?

This is my identical twin. Isn’t she gorgeous? (I can say that about all my siblings, but today I’m just talking about Lisa.)

She had a wedding over the weekend. Not hers. 😛 She’s been happily married a LONG time. Her second son got married. I didn’t go (I wish I had!) but I was there in spirit.

These are the women in her sons’ lives. Lisa’s the third one from the left in case you can’t tell which one is the MIL. The two on the left side are now her DILs, and the one on the right is her oldest son’s girl friend.

Aren’t they gorgeous? I heard a great time was had by all. (Dad went, so at least I got to hear about it.)  

In case you’re wondering, Lisa and I aren’t really identical. We aren’t even the same age, and don’t look exactly alike. I wish we did!

 She spends way more time with her flatiron and working out than I do. (She and her husband own an exercise machine store.) She probably spends an hour a day with hers, while I spend about zero minutes with mine–unless my bangs curl up.

Let’s count now . . . Number Four has two  DILs and a grandson now, and I only have one DIL.

What’s up with that?


Posted in writing on 09/09/2010 by Susan Shay

What a great weekend we had! I met a budding romance writer and we chatted about first chapters, great articles and beta readers over delicious food. I couldn’t have been happier if I’d written the scene myself!

I’m talking about the trip Gary and I took to Branson over the weekend. The 50th anniversary of Silver Dollar City and 50th anniversary of Shepherd of the Hills.

We had a great time, except when we tried to drive. The area was so crowded, if you got caught going the wrong way on the wrong road, you were lucky to make 3 mph. No kidding!

Gary declared that to be our last trip to Branson. (We’ll see.) We’re also never going back to Houston (fine with me!) since our Yukon was broken into when we were there last, and his custom made boots, as well as his tools, #1 son’s saddle bags, a plug in cooler and numerous other things, stolen. Grrr!

We did have fun. And (naturally) I saw a few people I knew. We got really good seats at Shepherd of the Hills. Third row! Close enough to get dirt in our teeth when the horses galloped past.

As we waited for the play to start (which is nothing like the John Wayne movie, btw) I saw a man walking toward me who looked really familiar. The woman he was with sat right next to me, so I asked, “Are you from C Town?”

“No,” she answered. “But he is.”

“You work at Walmart, don’t you?” I asked him.

“Yeah. You look really familiar.” He looked a tad confused.

Loved the woman he was with. She was sweet and quiet, and didn’t even complain when the kid behind us kicked her in the back or stuck his arm all the way down the back of her seat.

I was ready to smack the parents when, before the play started, they explained to their kids in a whiny voice that sounded like they didn’t really know the kids and weren’t sure how to handle them, that the bad men weren’t really bad. They were only acting. The people didn’t really live there, they were just pretending. And the fire, while it was real, wouldn’t hurt us. And the man who was going to die really wasn’t going to die. 

Gaaah! Did they think the kids would run screaming from the place if they hadn’t explained? Were they worried the boy would put on his boots and go fight fire if they didn’t tell him it was part of the play?

There’s a man from C-Town in the play, but I didn’t get a chance to speak to him. I think I saw him playing one of the parts, but it’s been years since he lived here, so I couldn’t be sure.

Here’s his picture from their website—   

His name is Shawn Blair. He’s been a cast member since 1989 and he plays Jim Lane and Preachin’ Bill.

He definitely didn’t look like that in high school! If he was in the play that night (and I can’t be sure because I didn’t get to talk to him) he played Jim Lane and did a great job.

I’ll post more about our trip later. One last word about Shepherd–if you haven’t seen it, go! It’s a good play with a great moral. It’s nothing like the movie. (Only the character names are the same.) It is like the book.

Haven’t read it? You should.

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