It’s Work-In-Progress Wednesday, and my guest today is Ryan Jo Summers
Welcome, Ryan Jo!
MJ: What are your top three dream destinations and why?
RJS: Ireland, because I’ve been there a few times and it’s lovely. I want to see more of it. And my dad lives there. Alaska because it seems so beautiful, cooler then where I live and the wildlife. Italy because of the canals and food.
MJ: Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
RJS: I was born with no sense of smell, still that way. Also, I am ambidextrous.
MJ: What is your secret talent?
RJS: Two– I draw cartoons, usually with dry humor captions. And most of my cats have started out as totally wild and unapproachable. Now they lay on my belly and purr like kittens. It just takes time and patience to sooth a savage beast.
MJ: If you didn’t write, what would be your creative outlet?
RJS: Painting and drawing. I do the cartoons to give voice to my frustrations in life. Hence the dry humor and sarcasm. I love to paint ceramics, on canvas, on plain paper if need be. Objects d’ art that inspire me and remind me of places or things that mean something special. I also write poetry, not for publication, but to work through hard spots in life.
MJ: Other than writing, what would be your dream job?
RJS: I miss being a veterinary technician, and I miss working around animals, usually the homeless ones, working to get them good homes. If I could do anything without real life concerns, I’d return to maybe a shelter director or something in the animal welfare field again. Now, if I were really dreaming, a storm chaser sounds pretty good too.
MJ: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
RJS: Water bottle.
MJ: If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be and why?
RJS: Someone who is out on the water all day, in an exciting way. I miss being on the water and would love to magically be transported into the shoes of someone who is lucky enough to spend every day doing something they love out on the water.
MJ: What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?
RJS: Coffee to start, loaded with milk and sugar. Check emails and social media. Then breakfast is normally eggs, (love eggs) a meat (bacon, sausage, etc..) and hash browns. I share the eggs and hash browns with my bird, Taz. He’s had so many eggs by now, I am surprised he hasn’t lain an egg himself. If I am running late, cereal is perfectly fine. Shared with Taz of course. Then shower, clean up the house a bit and off to work with more coffee. I can usually get between 5 to 8 hours in before it’s time for the day job.
MJ: Describe your ideal/dream writing space
RJS: I dream of a spacious room, with lots of windows for natural daylight and numerous plants. A tiled floor because it remains cooler then carpeting. Dolphin blue walls because a soft blue-gray is soothing and encourages the creativity that comes with being relaxed and comfortable. Framed pictures of all my book covers lining the walls. I have one now, soon to be more, but we can dream of multiple covers, right? A desk large enough to hold everything I need in all the nooks and crannies. And a couple dogs, preferably collies, to lay at my feet again. Probably another large fish aquarium to stare at when I need to rest my eyes from the computer screen and take that mental break we sometimes need.
MJ: That sounds lovely! Are you a plotter or a pantser?
RJS: Both. I plot initially, testing the story for strength and building characters, setting, conflict, etc… the major highlights. Then once I have a direction and key points, it’s a lot of fly by the seat of my pants. I have been known to write myself into a corner, then I have to stop and reevaluate where I was going and how to get out of the corner.
MJ: Do you believe in writer’s block?
RJS: Not in the sense some people use it as an excuse for not writing. I have writer’s block, so I’m going to lark around for weeks or months until it goes away. That’s not writer’s block, that’s not being serious about being a writer. I believe we can get off track and a bit lost. Like I said earlier, I can write myself into corners and need to stop. For hours. Maybe a day at the most. We can, I know from personal experience, combat writer’s block by developing the discipline to show up every day and make an honest attempt to put words down on paper. Two words, two hundred, two thousand, it’s the effort that counted. Do they have to be sterling quality? Nope. Just the effort will break the block and we can now move forward. Writing is like any other creative endeavor, in that it takes a discipline and desire to just show up and try. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now.
MJ: Name 3 things on your desk right now
RJS: My cat, Kryshnah. Sometimes it’s a cat or two or three. Often times it’s my macaw, Taz, helping out. So usually an animal of some sort. A blown glass egg paperweight my ex-father-in-law gave me years ago. It’s a lovely piece of glass, with bubbles and rainbow strings inside that reflect the light so well. He and I remained quite close despite the fact his son and I divorced a decade ago. I lost him earlier this year and the paperweight helps keep his memory alive. Two ceramics I’ve painted years ago, one a horse and one a Native American vase. A few pictures of pets I want to remember, some cats, a dog and a horse.
MJ: Would you consider self-publishing?
RJS: Yes, I would. I have a non-fiction inspirational novella I have had poor luck submitting for traditional publication. The rejections are encouraging but not accepting. So I know it has some value, but I am at a loss what to do with it. I have seriously considered having some beta readers take it, revise what might need altering and then self publish it myself. It will most likely be my only non-fiction work, at least as far as I plan now.
MJ: Synopses: love them or hate them?
RJS: Oh, hate them. I have a terrible time explaining what the book is about, whether it’s writing it down in a condensed query or synopsis or talking to someone in person. How much do you say to build interest without giving the whole story away or making someone bored? I struggle with finding that balance. I always second guess myself on synopses– should I mention that scene or not?
MJ: Now it’s time for the lightning round. Addams Family or The Munsters?
RJS: Addams Family. I liked Cousin It. When my hair was long, I could do a good impersonation of Cousin It by draping my hair over my face, letting it hang to my chest, and placing my glasses over top the hair. A hat was a bonus. It was a quick, easy and cheap Halloween costume. Plus the other characters were interesting, like Lurch.
MJ: Cinco de Mayo or St Patrick’s Day?
RJS: St Patrick’s Day, simply because of my links to Ireland. I don’t do anything really to celebrate it, no wearing of the green or dying one of my pets green. No special food or traditions. But I reflect on my time spent in Ireland and the stories I have heard of the many saints they treasure and a few statues I’ve seen of Saint Patrick.
MJ: Last movie you saw in a theatre
RJS: War Horse, back I think in 2009 or 2010. What a splendid movie. I cried at several scenes, even though I knew a lot of it was Hollywood magic. But I also know the true accounts of how horses were used and treated during the wars when they played an integral role. Dogs as well in many wars, and they still do. So I watched it from an entertainment point of view, just going to the movies, and from the factual and historical point of view.
MJ: Paper or e-books?
RJS: Paper. I love feel, especially of old books. I don’t even own a Kindle or Nook or e-reader devise. Very traditional.
MJ: Introvert or Extrovert?
RJS: Both. Mostly introvert. I am shy and quiet by nature. However, in the right setting, with the right people, I can come out of my shell and be extremely extroverted and outgoing. Not the norm, but it does happen.
MJ: Favorite Ethnic Food
RJS: Italian, I love the pastas and cheeses and herbs, with very little spice. Other than that, I am pretty much a meat-and-potatoes person or seafood of any type. Not a lot of variety or adventure for my palate.
MJ: Now for the fun part. Will you share the first sentences of your current Work In Progress?
RJS: This is from Part One and Part Two of a three part trilogy under one cover. It is the story of three high spirited and independent sisters, River, Storm and Raine, who find love in a small North Carolina coastal town. The entire volume is called ‘Winds of Destiny’.
The old man was dying. He knew it without the solemn stares coming from the doctor and the nurses. Before he parted, he had one more bit of unfinished business left, one he should have attended to a long time ago. Looking now into the worried faces of his two friends and neighbors of the last thirty-two years, he smiled grimly. It was time.
“Call my son,” he requested simply, the underlying urgency belying his simple wish.
Muriel and Cordell Gallagher exchanged uneasy glances. It was Muriel who spoke first, clearing her throat. “And what of River?” she asked, reaching for Cordell’s hand.
“Call for her too. Nothing changes for her, but I need to discuss some things.” He blew out a shaky breath. “Then call for Calder.”
“As you wish, Frank,” Cordell promised, lifting an eyebrow. “If you are sure.”
“I’m sure.” Looking across the room at an abstract painting of reds and yellows, he murmured, musing aloud, “It will be hard to tell where this will lead.”
She knew they were following her, the two guys about fifty feet behind her. And she just bet she knew why they were on her now. She had not noticed them during her flight, but they most certainly were following her.
She needed to ditch them, and quick. She had worked too hard to gather this data, just to let two goons like them take it from her. If they thought she was just going to hand it over to them like a lollypop to bullies on the playground, they were in for a surprise.
What she needed was a distraction, a way to throw them off her backside, slip off to her gate and safely make the last leg of her journey. Once she made it home, she would be safe, along with her important data.
Now, as for the diversion, Storm looked around the groups and clusters of people as she slowly made her way to gate B-6. Suddenly a smile split her lips. Perfect, he would do nicely. Reaching into her carry-on bag, she approached the man as he exited the restroom and moved to the drinking fountain.
Touching his shoulder, she whispered, “Play along with me, there’s twenty bucks in it for you,” Flinging herself against the wall by the fountain, she took him along, pressing her lips to his.
And from a YA/NA novel, FLASHES OF LIGHTNING:
Her name was Tabitha McGowan. Soon she would be turning seventeen. Looking in the mirror, waiting by the front door, she reflected on her reflection. Average without being boring. Or worse, mousey like some of the girls at school were. Compared to mousey, she supposed average was okay. Although gorgeous would have been nice. Like the cheerleaders. Like her sister.
But had she always been like this? Even now, hovering on the edge between teenager and young woman, she had a sense there had been something more. Something else. She just didn’t know what. It was like getting two-thirds through a movie and having to walk out, not knowing the rest of story. Or maybe it was more like walking into a movie already two-thirds into the action, she decided. Either way, there was something missing. So she felt about her life, it had a big piece missing.
MJ: Wow! You’ve been one busy author! I understand you have a book coming out in September, Shimmers of Stardust.
MJ: Gorgeous cover! How will people know to find this release?
RJS: I’ll have it all over social media.
Amazon Author Page-https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ACOBJ90
MJ: Well, good luck, and thanks for stopping by!