Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meet Ryan Jo Summers

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 5 comments
Ryan Jo Summers wrote a book involving time travel called Shimmers of Stardust. I loved it and wanted to know more about her. Ryan Jo, please tell us a little about yourself. 
I am a native Michigander but have lived in North Carolina for the past eleven years. It is a good feeling to have the sense I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am doing, even if it’s not always easy or clear why. I lead a quiet life, with my pets in a house I recently bought. Kind of still excited at having my own ‘mine’ house. So my days revolve around painting the house, my day job, working on writing and all the writing stuff that goes along with being published.  Seems there is always something that needs to be done. When I am not working on writing, working at work or working on the house, I hang out with my pets, my friends, the local National Forest or the local grocery store. If my Jeep were a horse, it would know the way by heart from home to work to the stores and home again. I could just go to sleep and wake up at the next destination.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.  
It was years ago, for a short story I had submitted to a devotional journal. I got a contract and letter in the mail. I was shaking as I read the letter, telling me they liked my essay and it was slated for the April edition. Later I got a free copy of the journal and a $25 check. Wow….published. I was so high in the clouds for days after that. My first novel was in 2012 for Whispers in Her Heart. The email literally came out of the blue, with a contract and some official documents. Again, I was soaring for weeks, but a little more wary this time. I was too scared to say anything to others until I knew there was no turning back on this adventure.

If it isn’t too nosy . . . (well of course it is!) How about the first time you kissed your true love?  
My first true love? Well, he stood sixty inches high at his shoulders, had reddish brown hair with glossy black highlights and the deepest, darkest brown eyes you have ever seen. His nose was long but well shaped. I was a little nervous standing there, next to him, eyeball to eyeball. I was about 29. I’d waited 22 years for this moment. He was 16, his name was Sundancer and he was my horse. Having had a horse infatuation since I was a child, I could not wait to get my own horse. He was the first of four to come, special to my heart and I loved everything about him. Our long and loving relationship ended sadly and he has since passed on to the great pasture in the sky. My other true love is still with me. We sing and dance and have our disagreements. Our kisses are more like pecks, with the kissy smacky sound. He is Taz, my blue and gold Macaw. His beak is as big as my fist when I curl it up, his tongue is soft and dry. He preens me, with his tongue tickling my face, cheeks, ear and lips. Never mind he has enough pressure in that beak to rip my face to shreds in miliseconds, I know he won’t. When Taz is bored, he’ll ask me for a kiss and lean in to me, eyes open of course, (both of us) and make the kissy sound as we touch. Sometimes when he’s feeling froggy, he tries a French kiss, which is taboo in my book.
I love that story. Thank you.  

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre? 
I like Linda Lael Miller and her time travels. Maggie Shayne for her suspense and paranormal. I like Nora Roberts for her Irish family stories. I’d have to add Sara Gruen and Constance O’Day Flannery. I don’t write true westerns but I like Max Brand and Zane Grey.
I thought your Western details were great.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career? 
This was a cool moment, a week ago, when I rang up my accountant to make an appointment. The receptionist took my name and immediately said, “I just read something about you in the paper last week.” It’s always a thrill when people I work with—a couple hundred— will pass by me and say “I read your latest story in {free lance periodical I contribute to}. It was great.”  With comments like that, I know I am on the right track.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?   
I need the solitude of getting to the forest, chilling out by the river. I like to paint ceramics or acrylic on canvas. I dabble in some poetry. I love to cook and bake, trying new things. And reading of course. Books, magazines, word find puzzles, trade journals, you name it.

What’s your snack of choice while writing?  
Coffee. Chocolate. I am not much of a snacker when writing. I don’t keep food on my desk, just a cup of coffee. Mainly, it is so the cats don’t get up there and knock the goodies to the floor. My mug is in a protected corner. But for snacks in general, I like nuts, salty chips, and all things chocolate.

Got a recipe you want to share?  I love my crock pots—yes two of them, one is almost constantly in use. And I love trying new recipes in them. Below is one I ran across recently and will be trying probably later in the week. Perfect for when I get  home from work late at night.
Ravioli Lasagna 
1-      28 oz. can crushed tomatoes  ½ C cream (35%)  ½ C milk   2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed   1 package sliced mushrooms
1 large package fresh or refrigerated ravioli and 1 C grated mozzarella cheese
1—In large bowl, stir and blend tomatoes, cream, milk and garlic
2-  Line bottom and sides of slow cooker with aluminum foil. Spread a quarter of tomato mixture on bottom. Crumble a third of sausage meat over sauce, then a third of mushrooms.
3—Arrange a third of ravioli in an even layer over mushrooms. Repeat with remaining  tomato sauce, sausage, mushrooms and ravioli, ending with  sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
4—Cover and cook LOW 6 to 8 hours. Remove lid and let stand 10 minutes.

Sounds easy and pretty good. Can’t wait! I am so hungry, reading this.

 Any advice for new writers just starting out?  Never let go of your dreams. Others may try to destroy your dreams and hopes, don’t let them. No one—not family, friends, editors and agents—can determine your value or talent. You alone are responsible for that. For every success story, there lies dozens of nay-sayers and haters behind them that they had to overcome.

What genre or genres do you write? 
Like my taste in reading, which is across the board, so is my writing. I prefer romance. It feels like the niche I should stay in. I aspire to become known for well written Christian romance. For that I am so grateful for Stardust. I also like romance with a few twists. Paranormal, mystery, time travel, shape shifting, suspense, I love it all. Toss them all into a blender and see what comes out. That was my debut novel in 2013, a real recipe of stuff. But Christian is where my heart is. I also went out on a limb and wrote a YA/NA which is currently making the rounds to agents. I don’t see it now as a career, but I am open to seeing what this book could do. Years ago I was inspired to write what became, after my insolent complaints, a non-fiction inspirational novella.  I grew a lot while writing and re-writing that book. It too is making the agent rounds. Again, I don’t see a future in non-fiction, but I would like to be open to writing them. I also write and contribute essays and short pieces to two regional periodicals so that helps me work with deadlines and measured word limitations. The exposure is pretty cool too. But romance is home to me.

Tell us about your latest release.  I had twins this past fall. September was the release of my Christian/ time travel story SHIMMERS OF STARDUST.
Blurb: 
    Civil War hero turned renegade, Logan Riley, is hanged by the law in 1869. His story should have ended there. Except Anthropologist Dr. McKenzie Lynne is hired by a team of physicists, protected by the military, to find a missing link to their time travel theories. She finds Logan, in the back on a cave, buried in glittering gold dust, very much alive. And very handsome. Taking him to the base camp, she learns what they really want him for. Horrified, she reacts, grabbing his hand and making a run for it.
Now pursued by the military and the obsessed physicists who will stop at nothing to get their living treasure back, Kenzie and Logan must fight to stay alive and stay hidden. Covering distances in the deserts and mountains of New Mexico and Arizona, each moment is a challenge to stay alive and stay safe.
Meanwhile. Kenzie's strong Christian faith works on Logan's bad-boy heart, convicting him of his lawless past. With Kenzie's help, he tries to allow the grace of God into his life while fighting to preserve both of theirs. Staying free means a lifetime on the run, but getting captured means a lot worse.
Undeniable affections bloom between them as tense moments turn into longer periods of growing love. Can their newly formed love survive the coming showdown between the military closing in, Kenzie's Christian morals and Logan's nineteenth century code of justice?
I hope this one will pave the way for future Christian novels. The time travel element was fun because the possibility is a natural conflict to the core of Christian beliefs. It makes you have to look inside yourself and examine what do I really think?  No matter one’s beliefs, the story is a good one, without preaching and leaves the reader free to just enjoy the tale.  Yes, It's an engaging story. I don't normally read Christian romance, but this was good without being preachy.
November was the release of WHEN CLOUDS GATHER. Compared to the other ones, this is a tame book. It is more graphic and heightened as far as suspense and story line and scenes, but it’s just a suspenseful romance story. No blended elements. No paranormal, no Christian, no crazy stuff. Just romance with who-dun-it mystery and who-is-next suspense.  Like I said, tame for me.
Blurb: Darby Adams has a happy life operating a Bed & Breakfast Inn at quiet Driftwood Shores, raising her son and caring for a menagerie of stray pets. Until she finds a dead guest in one of her rooms--murdered. Suddenly her home and business is turned into a crime scene and she is the number one suspect. Caught in a whirlwind, she needs a strong friend.
The surviving family wants justice so they hire new-in-town Sam Golden, Private Investigator, to find the facts and have Darby put away for good. Sam begins his case in a dual role, acting as a friend for Darby. Strong feelings unexpectedly and mutually develop, as strange, scary, things happen around the B & B. Sam has to rethink his original opinions on Darby's guilt or innocence. Darby has to consider the future of her business and the future lives of herself and her son. Attraction to Sam only complicates her already overwhelming life.
Then the day comes Sam is forced to tell Darby the truth about his job, pulling them apart. A new threat rises, forcing Darby to turn to Sam one more time. She has to trust him to survive this challenge, but can she trust him with her heart?

What’s your current WIP?  Two, which are both vying for my attention. One is a trilogy of three sisters, each wild and free of heart, set in the North Carolina coast, finding the unlikely love of their lives. It was neat to take my mental happy place, fill it will people and make it a real town on paper. So I still go to my happy place, except now the sisters and their adventures fill my mind.  I am now into the story of the third and youngest sister. The other WIP is my problem child. It will not listen to what I think it should be. The characters are all fighting for their rightful space and I have way more research then I can tie into one story. The blasted thing might be equal to War and Peace by the time I finish it. At its core, it’s another romance, but different than my others.  This is tipping its toe into quantum fiction and literary fiction. Darned if I know what this problem child is going to turn into someday. I feel your pain. I am trying to tame a recalcitrant book of my own. 

And finally, where can we find  you? 
 Hidden in the mountains of North Carolina? No, seriously, I am trying to spread myself like apple butter over social media. I maintain a blog on wordpress – http://summersrye.wordpress.com which is a more  intimate look at my life. I have guest blogs and also share bits of my personal life. It’s sort of like the main hub of the wheel. From there we have my website--- www.ryanjosummers-- which I don’t keep up as much as I should, but it’s where everything else spreads from. I also have my book trailers up there and share excerpts of the books and slices of my poetry and pictures of my fur/ feathered—kids. Next would be my author page on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads and LinkedIn.. I have a Twitter but don’t have a good handle on it. I post on Google + and lastly, I joined the Tsu revolution and set up a new account there last month. There doesn’t seem much I don’t dabble in, but my main focus with the freshest material is the wordpress blog, Facebook and my website. Next, I’m trying to put together a newsletter—a personal goal of mine for 2015. If I can put out two a year, that are of value, I’d be happy.

Thank you for being here. Ryan Jo is offering a PDF download of both When Clouds Gather and Shimmers of Stardust.
Enter below. 

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5 comments :

  1. Hi Ryan Jo, Great interview! I love the idea of combing two of my favorite entrees--the Ravioli Lasagne dish sounds delicious. Joanne :)

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  2. Hello Joanne. Thank you. Yes, the ravioli lasagna is a good dish, and easy breezy to make. I'd be lost without my slow cookers!

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  3. Interesting interview! It must be exciting to write in so many genres. Congrats on your sales and publications. Love your cover for SHIMMERS OF STARDUST!

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  4. My first love was definitely animal! :) Love the covers, by the way.

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