March 28, 2015

Please Give a Warm Welcome to Ryan Jo Summers, Author

Welcome to Cheryl’s place! I’m thrilled to have you here.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I am delighted to be here. Well, I am a single mother of six…that’s five cats and one macaw (large pirate-y parrot) Yes, I have been called ‘the crazy cat lady’ but I used to be a veterinary technician and the occupational hazard with that is adopting all the cast-aways and psycho-kitties no one else wants. I also like to collect necklaces. Sort of an odd thing, but less troublesome than cats. And other than a watch, I don’t wear much jewelry beyond a couple necklaces.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing? Cooking and/ or baking. I like to try creating new recipes off old favorites. Since I was born with no sense of smell, (anosmia) it can be challenging sometimes. However, I find food preparation with multiple steps can be relaxing. Same for cooking suet for the wild birds. Beyond that, I like to paint and doodle. I love mind games like bent & wiggly word find puzzles and Mah Jongg or, when I can find an opponent, chess. Ultimately, going to the national forest nearby and hanging out alone by the river. I recently bought a 1920 cottage bungalow, and have been cutting my teeth on a series of first time homebuyer issues. Thankfully none have been too hard to deal with, and they have provided me with good blogging fodder.

Any advice for new writers just starting out? Be open to constructive criticism from trusted sources, but not to negativity. Learn quickly to spot the differences. Not everyone will be a fan of your work, and that’s okay. But your truest fans want only the best for you. It can be hard but learn not to justify every word or paragraph or book you write. Some of it needs to be cut away. Scissors/ erasers hurt, but publication is a great healer.

What genre or genres do you write? Mostly romance. I love mixing them up in subgenres though. Christian/ time travel/ shape shifting/ paranormal/ mystery/ suspense. Blender time! I also wrote a YA/NA recently that tip-toes into paranormal and have a straight up non-fiction inspirational novella I am wondering what to do with. I write short stories in assorted subgenres and poetry for therapy. This is in addition to the free-lance articles I do for regional periodicals. And I keep a journal. So doubtlessly I am writing something for someone at any given moment in time.

Tell us about your latest release.   

‘Shimmers of Stardust’ is about a Civil War hero who turns renegade. He is hanged by the law in 1869 and his story should have ended there. Except is does not. Fast forward to 2014 and anthropologist Dr. McKenzie Lynne is hired by a team of physicists to find a missing link to their time travel theories. She accidently
stumbles across Logan Riley, the cowboy with a hanging scar. Discovering he’s the missing link and what the think tank physicists have in mind, she runs off, dragging their living treasure with her.

Now the chase is on. Hired military, armed to the teeth, pursue Kenzie and Logan. He’s used to hunting and hiding but not in this strange new world and never with a lovely lady in tow. Kenzie isn’t buying this whole time travelling nonsense, but there is no denying the physicists and soldiers are anxious—and determined—to get Logan back.

As the time passes, love blooms between them like the desert flowers and mountain dew. Kenzie’s strong Christian faith works on Logan’s bad-boy heart, convicting him of his lawless past. She turns his heart around, but it might be too late for their love as the ultimate showdown is about to begin: modern military and obsessed physicists against his 19th century cowboy code of justice and their fledgling love.

Now here is the interesting thing about ‘Shimmers of Stardust’—the manuscript actually took me about 4 months to write. That is really quick for me. That was starting with a fresh idea and seeing where it was going. About 2/3 into it, I came across a piece of paper while cleaning out some boxes. There, on a scrap sheet was a story idea for a future book. It had no title but the premise was almost word-for-word of what I was writing. And the date I had the original story plot---about 17 years before. 

Please share an excerpt of your book!
Again, he shook his head. She talked a lot. “No sawbones. I'm just thirsty.”
            She handed the water bottle over again, pausing when he stared at the screw lid and back at her.
            “Just twist it,” she offered, waiting. As he gave an experimental twist of his wrist and smiled as the lid came off, she considered what she had just stumbled onto. Hopefully, Aiden Conway would be of help after they reached the portable offices. And once[LC1] [RS2]  there, she was going to grab some aspirin for herself, and him if he decided he wanted some.
            He handed it back again, lid still off. Screwing it back on, she took a step toward the cave entrance. “Can you make it on your own or do you need some help?” she asked, watching how he still leaned heavily along the rock wall, just a little out of breath. She could leave him long enough to get some help. “Are you in any pain?”
            “I'll be fine,” he assured. “Where are we heading for?”
            “To see my boss. He is set up in the offices a little way from here. Not far, we can walk it. He's in charge of this dig.”
            “Sorry, yes, archeological dig. I am head anthropologist on site and just came in this cave for a short break,” she gave a little laugh as they entered the sunlight and heat outside. Turning back at him, her laugh died off as she stared at the red slashes across his neck. Instinctively she wanted to reach up and touch them, but held her hand back.
            “Are you sure you don't need to see a doctor about that?” she asked, pointing to his neck.
            Gingerly he reached up, touching his fingertips to the marks. “Figures,” he muttered in disgust. “Lost the guns but kept this,” he added cryptically. Reaching around, he loosened his bandana and adjusted it, knotting it loosely over the slashes.
            “Better?” he asked, looking down at her. The sunlight glinted off a silver disc and chain she wore around her neck. He could make out lines of words and he found himself wondering what it read. Now that he was upright again, he found her small build fascinating. She stopped just short of reaching his shoulders, and freckles played over her pretty face. She couldn't weigh more than two sacks of grain.
            “Uh, I guess so. Camp is that way, come on.” Striking out for the camp, she wondered if she dared ask where he got those angry red slashes on his neck. His cryptic response made her wonder all the more. What if he had some serious injury? But how could he explain being buried in a long cave? Finally, as the buildings came into view, she just had to know. Stopping, she turned to face him, lifting her face up to meet his intense blue eyes, now shaded by the brim of his hat.
            “Uh, Mr. Logan, I need to ask you some questions. We'll start with how exactly did you get those red marks on your neck?”
            A ghost of a smile played on his lips for a fleeting second, vanishing quickly.
            “Well, darlin’, reckon I got ‘em when I was hanged.”

What’s your current WIP?  I have two of them going on plus two older drafts I want to rewrite as time allows. About a year and a half ago, I started three stories in one volume. It began as more therapy, taking my mental happy place and making it ‘real’. I gave it a name, filled it with streets, people, businesses, etc… I found three sisters, all spirited and strong, who end up finding love in that quaint little seaside community. The stories, each onto their own, are told individually through each sister with cameos of the other two. I am now just a touch over 2/3 finished. 
       Another one I have been working on for the past year is romance, women’s lit, or maybe commercial fiction. It’s my problem child. Succinctly, it is the story of a woman who is told her soldier husband died in action overseas. She buries him and moves on, grieving the loss and raising their son by herself. Then one day, she learns of a soldier who escaped from a secret belowground military hospital. She meets up with him, and he’s a dead ringer for her deceased husband. The problem is he has no memories of himself, her or anything. All he knows is he has this uncanny sensory ability and he feels emotions whenever he is around the woman claiming to be his wife. The two older drafts I want to rewrite are, respectively, another time travel story and a sweet contemporary Christian love story, not mish-mashed like Shimmers of Stardust was.

And finally, where can we stalk you?



Book trailer link:


  1. Cheryl, thank you for having me stop by. It was nice to chat about my pets and books.

  2. So glad to "meet" you on Cheryl's blog, Ryan! The blurb and excerpt about this current release sure piqued my went to Amazon and bought it! Thanks for the post.

    1. Glad to meet you too, Janice. I have a very good friend named Janice too. Glad this story piqued your interest and I hope you enjoy Kenzie and Logan's tale.

  3. Great interview! Best of luck with sales, Ryan :)