I love having authors drop by. We have spotlights for books, we do interviews and encourage guest posts. But this is a Return to Rio first–a “Top Five” list! So, what are my top three reasons for being glad Susanne Matthews came by? She’s creative, a class act, and a talented author. Bonus gift–she brought us some “oh, wow!” excerpts. What’s not to love? Please welcome Susanne and learn the five top reasons you’re next book should be a Susanne Matthews book!
Top Five Reasons Why You Should Consider Reading My Books.
Hello and thanks so much for having me here today. When I was considering what to write for this blog post, I couldn’t decide on a number of things—the topic and the book to promote to you were just two of them!
Instead of writing about a particular topic, I decided to talk about all of my books and let you decide which one might suit you best. As an author, I see my books as my children, loving each one equally, but as a reader, I know everyone has favorite genres and subgenres.
1. So, you should consider reading my books if you like romance. All of my books are romance novels, but they don’t follow the formula romance model. You’ll meet my hero and heroine separately, get to know them and their problems before they meet one another. The stories will always have a ‘happily ever after’, but getting there will never be the same.
2. You should consider reading my books if you like suspense. Fire Angel, In Plain Sight, On His Watch, and Echoes of the Past are all novels with strong suspense components. Fire Angel is the story of a serial killer who uses arson as his weapon of choice and Alexis and Jake, the fire investigator and wounded warrior criminal profiler determined to stop him. In the novel In Plain Sight, you’ll meet Misty, a woman in witness protection, on the run from the Irish mob, and Nick, a temporarily blind concert pianist determined to keep her safe. Nikki, in On His Watch, suffers amnesia after a brutal home invasion and Jason, the FBI agent who found her fights his own guilt and attraction as he seeks to keep her safe from a monster who wants her dead and won’t give up. Echoes of the Past brings the past, present and future together as Michelle and Tony, reincarnations of their ancestors, seek to end a curse and save the Lake of the Mountain from ruthless meth dealers.
Excerpt from On His Watch:
The sound of breaking glass coming from downstairs shattered the stillness. Nikki tensed. Had the sound come from the kitchen? Had she left a window open? She’d shut the bedroom window a few moments ago because the wind had picked up and its whistling sound bothered her. Could it have knocked over the crystal vase of roses Sam had sent her this morning? Perhaps Mrs. Olsen’s tabby had jumped in the window and knocked the vase over. The cat had been a regular visitor when the previous owners had lived here, and he saw no reason to curtail his visits. She’d almost had a heart attack the last time he entered, bringing her a gift—a dead mouse—and Danny had laughed himself silly at “Mommy’s girliness.” Sam, not an animal lover, had threatened to poison the animal if it came into the house again. If the cat had broken the vase, its days were numbered.
Or what if someone was in the house? She’d noticed a lot of strangers in town, some looking more unkempt than others. There were plenty of family campers, but every now and then, she’d seen so-called gold prospectors combing the Larosa hills. Trudy, Mandy’s best friend Lily’s mother, had said they were harmless but to a girl like Nikki from San Francisco, dirty, half-starved men meant trouble. They could easily be junkies desperately needing a fix.
She took a deep breath. She didn’t hear any other suspicious sounds. As Sam would say, she was letting her imagination run wild. Most likely it was one of Larosa’s minor quakes that had caused a glass to slip off the table. Just a few miles off the San Andreas Fault, the town was constantly trembling. She barely noticed the Earth’s slight shaking anymore.
Even though she’d convinced herself nothing was amiss, Nikki tiptoed to the guest room, got down on all fours, and peeked under the bed. Mandy was asleep. The child slept like the dead once she was out. Nikki reached for the flashlight, turned it off, and used the bed to leverage her body upright again.
She picked up the cell phone she’d left on the dresser earlier, made sure it was on in case Sam called, and dropped it into the right pocket of her pajama top. Carrying the flashlight, she slipped out of the room, closing the door softly behind her.
Maybe getting a dog’s a good idea. It would keep the damn cat out of the house.
Nikki stood still in the hallway and listened. The only thing she could hear was the sound of the television in the den. Someone was buying a vowel.
She reached Danny’s room and opened the door. When she saw his bed was empty, she relaxed and shook her head in resignation. As much as it annoyed her to admit it, this time Sam was right. Her imagination did tend to look for boogeymen where there weren’t any. Clearly her eight-year-old and his bottomless pit of a stomach had decided to have another bedtime snack. No doubt he was the culprit. She left the room and placed the flashlight on the hall table where it usually sat in case of a power outage.
“What did you break this time?” she called as she headed down the stairs. “I swear, you’re like a bull in a china shop.”
The sound of the garage door opening indicated Sam’s arrival. Although the clinic was nearby, since he carried major opiate drugs back and forth, Sam always took his car to work. He’d enter the house through the garage, leaving his lab coat and shoes out there and washing his hands at the sink he’d had installed for that purpose.
“Let’s get this cleaned up before your father comes in.” She turned the corner into the kitchen and stopped cold.
The fridge door was open, the pitcher of orange juice shattered on the floor beside what was left of her crystal vase full of roses, the red petals vanishing in her son’s blood. So much blood! Danny lay there, his head at an awkward angle, his eyes open, looking into the face of death. A scream froze in her throat as arms grabbed her from behind, and the sting of the knife bit into her upper back.
3. You should consider reading my novels if you love history. The Captain’s Promise and The Price of Honor, due out this fall, are both set in the seventeenth century. While the stories start in France, they deal with the history of French colonial North America. The Captain’s Promise was simple. When he left to pursue his fortune, he promised to come back. Ten years later, he does, only to find the woman he loves in serious trouble. Now, a ship’s captain tasked with safely bringing the first French colonial merchant marine ship to the new world, can he save Elle and his ship from those who want to see this new venture fail? The Price of Honor, for Izzy, is high—her name, her home and her birthright, but she’ll risk everything to clear her husband’s name. With the help of a childhood friend, she escapes an unwanted marriage to sail to New France and discover the truth. What she finds is a plot that could destroy the colony and the love she thought lost to her forever.
Excerpt from The Price of Honor:
Isabelle realized her mistake when she saw her step-mother’s face. Henriette’s fury was palpable and radiated from her. She stood quickly, knocking over her chair, moved to Isabelle’s side, and grabbed her chin painfully, twisting her face to the right and then to the left. Her fingertips would leave their imprint.
“You’ll do nothing of the sort. How naïve you are. Have you learned nothing of politics? This may be the seventeenth century, but because of your royal blood, you have less rights than the slaves you described. Rebellions have been started by people with a weaker claims to the throne than yours—what are you? Twelfth now? Many of those ahead of you are old. As they die, your claim to the throne improves. Among other things, your darling Pierre is to blame for your current situation. His treason cost you your freedom. The king can’t allow someone he doesn’t trust to be in your position. After what happened, it would be political suicide. I know it, the chevalier knows it, and so does the king. His Majesty’s chosen a man he trusts with his life to father your children. The original plan was to slit your traitorous throat. The chevalier convinced the king to spare you and this is how you’ll repay his concern?”
Isabelle stared into her step-mothers cold eyes. Could Henriette be telling the truth? Had the chevalier and not the king instigated this farce? Slit her throat? She’d prefer they had to this travesty. Henriette continued talking, oblivious to the thoughts overwhelming Isabelle.
“Look at you. You’re powerless. Why you don’t have enough mettle to push my hand from your chin.” She let go of her and pushed her away with such violence Isabelle had to grab the edge of the desk to keep from falling.
“Surely, there’s another option? Why would waiting a few more months make that much difference?”
“Because of the conspiracy, you foolish girl. Think of it. A member of the royal family, albeit a distant one, conspiring to commit treason? A woman is often blamed for her husband’s crimes. The sooner that connection is erased from memory, the better. Besides, I can’t take my place at court until you are the new Comtesse of Caen. Your husband becomes Comte de Caen and d’Angrignon the day you marry, and he’s quite anxious to assume his new title. Did you think this was all about you? While he may lust after you, there are plenty of women willing to fill his bed. Vincent offered to give you his name to spare the king any further shame, and somehow managed to convince his majesty it was all his idea in the first place. The man is brilliant. The title is his reward, the position at court, mine. It’s about power—power and politics. Nothing personal.” She laughed at what must be the stunned look on Isabelle’s face. “Pauvre petite! You’re almost twenty-five, and you have no idea how the world works. You’re the daughter of a comte, with royal blood in your veins. Strange things happen at court. It’s possible your child could inherit the throne—a daughter could marry the dauphin. Resign yourself to your fate, and make the best of it. This can be a wonderful opportunity. You can have everything you’ve ever wanted, and all you have to do is spread your legs.”
4. You should read my novels if you like reading about confusion and misunderstanding. In Just for the Weekend, Cleo, a prim and proper kindergarten teacher agrees to attend a sci-fi convention in Las Vegas and gets more than she expected when she finds herself married to a man she thinks is a male exotic dancer. Afraid he’ll end up with another gold digger, multi-millionaire real estate developer Sam decides to keep his true identity a secret, but falls like a ton of bricks for the green-skinned Orion slave girl, and marries her, only to find his bride has vanished. Can a relationship built on lies survive?
Excerpt from Just for the Weekend:
“Holy crap! You could have warned me.”
Mitch wore a long black wig, heavy brown makeup, and the facial ridges of a female Klingon warrior. Her body was shoved into a tight, black leather corset-styled top that accentuated her breasts and a long, leather skirt paired with heeled boots with silver toecaps. She had a knife of sorts shoved into her belt.“Wow! You look fantastic. I could use one of the push-up bras from hell if I ever wanted to look sexy.”
“What are you talking about? You’re one of the sexiest woman I know, and you’re completely oblivious to it. Get your nose out of your father’s ancient history books and look at yourself in the light of the twenty-first century. I love you, girl, but sometimes you frustrate me.”
“Yeah, well, let’s agree to disagree on that. I don’t want to be noticed that way. There’s more to me than a set of boobs and long legs. I’m much happier out of the limelight. Now, are you going to tell me about your makeup?”
“It’s a mask. My friend Hailey works at Paramount and made it for me last year. It gets a little warm after a while, but it’s a lot easier than putting the makeup on each time.”
“I wish I had something like that. Where’s the rest of my costume? I’d better be wearing more than green body paint, blood red lipstick, and gold eye shadow.”
“It’s on your bed.”
Cleo stared at the scraps of fabric and jewelry on the spread.
“No way! There’s got to be more to it than that.”
The costume consisted of a burgundy silk bikini bra, a matching string bikini bottom with gold-colored sheer skirt panels front and rear, gold muscle bracelets shaped like snakes, and two-inch wide metallic fabric ankle shackles without the chain.
“You’ve got to be kidding. I’ll look like a semi-naked leprechaun. How does that fit into a sci-fi convention?”
“It happens to be one of the most popular women’s costumes. For the record, leprechauns wear green, and unless they’re some kind of mutants, they aren’t green. With my five-foot-four figure, the costume loses something, but on you, it’ll be awesome.” Mitch handed her a glass of wine. “Here, take a drink and relax. You showed just as much by the pool this afternoon.”
“Yeah, and whose idea was that? I don’t see why I couldn’t wear my black swimsuit this afternoon. You seem to forget about the moral turpitude clause in my contract. Lying around in the sun half-naked is pushing it. I certainly won’t be wearing that blue bikini to take the kiddies swimming at the local pool.”
“That clause is archaic, and you worry about it way too much—between your father’s ‘rules’ and the school board’s ‘thou shall not’s,’ you’re living in the past. Besides you needed a new swimsuit. Even my mother doesn’t wear a one-piece bathing suit like the one you had. I don’t even think my grandma would wear it. You chose the bikini—there was that gorgeous leopard one…”
“You mean the one cut down to my navel in front, and so high on the hips my ass hung out? No thanks. At least the bikini covered most of my boobs and butt.”
“Whatever.” Mitch rolled her eyes. “Let’s get you dressed. We need to be downstairs in twenty minutes.”
Mitch helped her put on what was surely the skimpiest alien costume in the universe. Cleo stood before the mirror staring at the creature looking back at her.
“I look like a mutant leprechaun belly dancer.” She took a sip of her wine. “It’s a damn good thing you didn’t show me this when you asked me to come. I’d have said no.”
“For the record, you’re not a mutant leprechaun; you’re an Orion slave girl. Men are powerless before you. Too bad that cutie from the bar last night can’t see you. You’re worth a dozen of the brunette he was with. Come here so I can spray the glitter on you.”
Two glasses of wine in quick succession were easing her embarrassment, but as she allowed Mitch to spray the liquid shimmer on her hair and body, she couldn’t resist one final complaint.
“Well, I’d rather wear what you’re wearing. If the air-conditioning is turned up as high as it was this morning, I’ll be an Orion slave icicle!”
5. You should read my books if you want to be entertained. I co-author under the name Misty Matthews. Grand Slam is a baseball short where the past and the present collide. Brittany and Justin have a second chance at love. Will they take it? As well, in October, Coming Home, the first book in a four-book series, Taking a Chance on Love, will be released. Litigation lawyer Alana hates Chance, Arizona, her hometown, and has avoided returning until now. She’s here for the holidays, but she intends to go back to Texas as soon as she can. Connor hates the big city. Can he change Alana’s mind and show her home is where the heart is?
Excerpt from Grand Slam:
“Honey, we’ve been to two games already this year. You’ll have more fun with your teammates than hanging out with your boring, old mother. You’ll do guy things.”
She gave a half-hearted laugh trying to keep the conversation light. Dustin could never know the reason why she couldn’t go to the Ravens’ game. She’d found a way to avoid taking him to the New Orleans’ game each season these last three years, but she didn’t know how she’d get out of it this time. Why did the Ravens have to be his favorite baseball team? Why was he drawn to Justin Harris rather than one of the other players? Did the heart instinctively recognize its own?
“You’re not old, Mom. You’re the biggest baseball fan I know—besides me, of course. I really want us to go together. Please? It won’t be any fun listening to my team cheering for the Tornados.” He shook his head as if such a thing was unthinkable. “You won’t be the only parent there. Some of the other kids’ fathers are going. Besides, you promised to take me to a game I chose. This is the one I’m picking.”
Why can’t he love the home team like everyone else?
There was that dreaded ‘F’ word again. Her mind and her heart screamed this would be a mistake. Why was it kids knew exactly what to say to undermine a parent’s confidence? She wouldn’t let him guilt her into giving in this time, but this was a problem she’d created. When he’d won the team MVP last year, she’d foolishly agreed to give him a special gift of his choosing. He’d opted for tickets to the game of his choice next season. They’d already gone to games, but those hadn’t been his choices.
Why did I ever agree to such a thing? Sometimes I just don’t think.
Dustin was a good kid, and she hated denying him anything since he so rarely asked. He never begged for outrageously expensive things like some of the other kids did. He seemed to understand, that as a single parent family, some things were a bit harder for them. The only things he asked for were baseball-oriented, and as much as it hurt her to admit it, she wasn’t sure she could honor this request.
“I don’t know, Dustin. I’ll have to think about it. Go wash your hands. We’re ready to eat.”
“Mom,” he groaned, dragging the word out as if it had more than one syllable and standing his ground. “I don’t see what the big deal is. I want to go and watch our favorite team play. I want to see Justin Harris, and I want to do it with you.” He glared at her, every ounce of stubbornness he possessed on his face. “Just say yes.”
To hide the tears in her eyes she turned away from him. With more force than necessary, she cut into the lasagna.
“I can’t do that. It isn’t that simple. We can discuss it after supper.”
“I’m not hungry. I’m going to my room to do my homework.”
“Dustin, you have to eat.”
He ignored her, stalked off, and slammed his bedroom door.
What I want more than anything is that, when you turn that last page of any of my books, I want to know you smiled and said, “I enjoyed that.” You can find all of my books through my website: http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/
About the author:
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. An avid reader of all types of books, with a penchant for happily ever after romances she travelled in her imagination to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, she has made her dreams come true. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
Susanne and her husband of more than 40 years live busy lives. They have three children and five grandchildren. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, chatting on the Internet with her writer friends, and hearing from her readers.
A well-intentioned principal posted my first story, Ricky and Tricky's Christmas, when I was six years old, condemning me to a life spent writing. I've lived on the Texas-Mexico border for what is now most of my life, am an educator, mother, and grandmother.