Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Release Day Blast~The Me You See~Shay Ray Stevens

The Me You See
Shay Ray Stevens

October 14, 2014


One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.


Wait. I'm...dead. 

And now they will never see the truth. Because when you're dead, you are only the stories that people tell about you. This is the story of me. This is the story of the me you see. 


After six people are shot at a small town community theater, people gather to attend the funeral of one of the victims: seventeen-year-old Stefia. As those who knew Stefia best privately share their memories of her, we discover a collective picture of a girl everyone loved but no one really knew. 

Who was Stefia? Who knew her best? And why was she targeted in the shooting? 

Enter stage right and prepare for the dark brilliance found in Author Shay Ray Stevens' gripping new novel THE ME YOU SEE. Ms. Stevens will captivate you as she explores the tainted shadows hiding in plain sight on the stage of life. 

When shadows are scattered by spotlight, who will you choose to see?



Meet & Connect With Shay Ray Stevens

Dauntless Indies Sit Down with Shay Ray

DI ~ What inspired you to write your first novel?

SRS ~ The first one that was published, or the first one I wrote? I can’t even remember the first novel I wrote. I think I came out of the womb writing. I’ve been filling notebooks, floppy disks, and external hard drives with tales since I was itty bitty.

But my first published novel, Lost: One Pair of Rose Colored Glasses, was inspired by real life. It was based on my first year of marriage. Did stuff in that book actually happen in real life? Yeah. How much of it? That’s between hubby and me. ;)

DI ~ What books/authors have inspired your life most?

SRS ~ Stephen King’s On Writing was totally inspiring. It is also the only book I have ever re-read.

More recently - Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. I was completely captivated by how a nice, sweet author had crafted this completely twisted, dark tale. I totally got that story. I loved it. And Ms. Flynn just seems like a lovely person, so that gave me proof that even nice, lovely people can write stuff that isn’t necessarily nice and lovely.

Thirdly, and oddly enough, is Fifty Shades of Grey, which I have never read past the first chapter. But the book still inspired me because I’ve seen people react to that book. People who I would have assumed wouldn’t touch that subject matter with a 100 foot pole were suddenly discussing it in the open – like during coffee hour at church. It helped me stop being so scared about diving into the words I’d been hiding, the stuff I really wanted to write about, because it proved to me that people are reading a whole lot of stuff that they might not readily admit to right off the bat.;)

DI ~ What book(s) are you reading now?

SRS ~ The last two books I finished were Remember When by T. Torrest and Trouble by Non Pratt.

DI ~ Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

SRS ~ I have a lot of luck on Twitter finding new authors to read in genres outside what I normally indulge in. I’m enjoying Scott Burtness (Wisconsin Vamp), Adam Dreece (The Yellow Hood series) and D.Emery Bunn (Darkness Concealed), just to name a few.

DI ~ What are your current writing projects?

SRS ~ I’m starting work on a new mystery-ish novel called The Visit.

DI ~ What would we find you doing when you're not at the keyboard?

SRS ~ I live on a small farm in MN so if I’m not writing, I’m taking care of the animals that live in my big red built-in-1918 barn. I tried writing in the hayloft a few times but found out it’s really easy to fall asleep in a pile of hay.

You also might find me snuggling with the really tall guy I’m married to or hanging out with the two tween sons who are almost taller than me. If I’m not at the computer, I’m happiest outdoors. I’m really a very simple gal.

DI ~ If you could be any character in your book(s), which would you be and why?
SRS ~ I’m already lot like the characters in my books for various reasons, so I don’t feel like choosing a character to be like would be different than what I already am. I will say, though, that my favorite character in TMYS is Elliot.

Top ten books

If I had to choose right now? Hmmmm…in no particular order:

Me and Emma by Elizabeth Flock
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Trouble by Non Pratt
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
On Writing by Stephen King
The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner
Forever Ours by Janis Amatuzio

DI ~ What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general idea and write?

SRS ~ I start a book with an itty bitty idea of where it will end. The more I write, the more the story takes shape. I’ve tried planning out stories and following rigid outlines but I find, at least for me, it’s too constricting. I’ve found a balance between saying “I think this is where the story is going” but not being completely afraid when some character shows up and throws things out of whack. I’m a little loony that way. The characters know the story. I just need to get out of their way and let them tell it.

DI ~ Editing is a challenge for many writers. Give us some of your tips for editing efficiently and well.

SRS ~ Hire someone else to do it for you. ;) Okay, only half kidding. I do have an awesome editor (Todd Barselow) who I can’t say enough about. My secret for editing before I send it off to Todd - when I think I have everything “perfect”, I read through the entire manuscript OUTLOUD while PACING. There’s something about reading the words aloud that helps me to find errors, and the movement during the process…well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a quirk, but it works for me. J

DI ~ Research is another challenge writers face, but is an important part of the writing process. What are some of your research tips?

SRS ~ Be sure to clear your browser’s history. ;)

DI ~ If you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least helpful?

SRS ~ I think a lot of people dislike marketing as an author because a) they have to talk about themselves and b) they have some false idea that marketing always translates to fast sales. When it doesn’t (and it rarely does) they think they’ve failed.

I stopped stressing out about marketing when I realized it takes time to build a name as an author. I don’t believe in overnight success stories. It takes time to write a book. It takes time for people to know who you are. Be yourself and get to know people, connect with them over things that aren’t necessarily book related and you will find the world is a big wide place that makes things happen.

DI ~ What genre do you write in? What are some of the challenges to writing this particular genre well?

SRS ~ I started in romcom, but The Me You See is mystery/psychological thriller. I really like mystery/PT.  I think some of the challenge of writing in mystery or PT is that you have to have a good twist. The problem with having a good twist is that after a few books, people start looking for the twist. I remember watching one of M. Night Shyamalan’s later movies, not being far into it, and already trying to figure out what the twist was going to be. Sometimes the search for the twist can be distracting to the heart of the story.

DI ~ What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out?

SRS ~ If you feel like you have to write, then by all means, write. Realize, however, that publishing a book is a business. The challenge is in combining the two.

DI ~ What are your writing, editing, marketing, and research goals for 2014-2015?

SRS ~ My 2015 *goal* is to release two more mystery/psychological thrillers: The Visit and Brother

Michele's Review

This novel was quite a departure for Shay Ray Stevens. Having read two of her earlier books, I was anticipating the snarky wit, biting humor, and gut busting laughter that accompanied Lost: One Pair of Rose Colored Glasses and Found: One Craving for Everything.  What I got was The Me You See, a dark, twisted, deep, suspenseful, edge of your seat thriller.

I applaud you Ms. Stevens. This book, while dark in its subject matter was a stark reminder of not only our humanity, but that of those around us. The story centers on a girl named Stefia, a girl whose life ended too young, as told by those around her. Not just those who loved her, but those who despised her as well, and one could argue, those who failed her. Each gave a unique perspective on the perception of her life, in her short time on earth; how she touched many lives, both good and bad.  But no one saw the real Stefia, not even the reader.  The narrative is a testimony to the fact that, no matter what you see, you don’t see me.  

A fast paced roller coaster of emotions not describable in words, but I will try. I imagine this is what riding in the front car, hands in the air, on the largest, steepest, fastest drop imaginable, in the pouring rain would feel like. If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would not hesitate.  I highly recommend!  Be warned, it will keep you up late at night and rip your heart out, stomp it to bits and give it back a bruised mess. 5 Big Bright and Shiny Stars!


Also by Shay Ray Stevens


Lost: One Pair of Rose Colored Glasses (romantic comedy)
Emily Swanson has finally married her knight in shining armor, but there's just one problem: she seems to have lost her pair of rose colored glasses.

Can Emily survive the first year of marriage without them? How can she endure the (mis)communication of hint language or the in-laws who forget to knock? Is it possible to still love a man who can't follow a shopping list? And how in the world did she end up with someone who won't cut down a Christmas tree?

Emily struggles to stay lovely and sweet while dealing with a late honeymoon, her husband's new puppy, and the newfound paranoia that everything makes her look fat. But with tricks from Mother and the Cult of Married Women (along with a whole lot of sass), Emily soon learns how to keep her sanity and carry on.

Kick off your heels, grab a glass of wine, and laugh along as Emily Swanson discovers the realities of life together in marriage that are quickly revealed when the rose colored glasses come off.


Found: One Craving for Everything (romantic comedy)
"I'm not pregnant!" I said again, because I liked the way it sounded flying out of my mouth.

"I'll bet you ten bucks you're having a baby," Ben laughed, his face glowing with excitement and pride.

"Oh yeah? I'll bet you twenty bucks I'm not!"

I mean, really. What did Ben know about pregnancy anyway? He didn't even have boobs.

EMILY SWANSON unexpectedly finds herself pregnant after three years of marriage and without warning is launched into nine months of twists and turns on the journey to motherhood.

Why is she craving orange juice and cheese curls? Will she ever stop crying? Does she really need to buy maternity underwear? Are breasts for fun...or for feeding? Why are all the baby names her husband suggests completely stupid? And must she give up her Bedroom Goddess sash just because she's turned on her internal Easy Bake Oven? 

Life is tough in the Pregnant Twilight Zone. Will Emily survive?

Yes. But only with the help of chocolate raspberry ice cream.

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