About Susanne Matthews

I'm a retired high school English teacher turned author. I'm Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.

A Lot Can Happen in Fifty Years

This is an image of the moon rising on August 21, 2021. Every time there has been a major astronomical event this year, we’ve had cloudy skies. But Saturday night, the sky was perfect. The second picture is what the moon looked like on the night of September 3, 1971.

On September 3, my husband and I will be celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Fifty years, five decades, half a century, one twentieth of a millennium. So much time, and yet it doesn’t seem possible for it to have slipped by.

My husband and I met in university in 1969. After our first date, I told my roommate, “I’m going to marry him.” Two years later, I did. The heart wants what the heart wants. There’s no rhyme or reason to it; it just is.

Love at First Sight

In all the books I write, I’ve always struggled with the cute first meet. I’m not sure why because I had a cute first meet when I met John. Living in residence, my roommate and I shared a washroom with another room, hence the term can mates. Each of us had responsibilities for keeping the can clean. That particular day, I was on garbage duty. I’d just taken my shower and had washed my hair–a bigger production in 1969 than today with our handheld dryers, curling irons, and straighteners. Dressed in an old calico granny-style, quilted housecoat, my hair turbaned in a towel, I knocked on my can mate’s door. She said come in and I did … not realizing she had company. While I couldn’t possibly have made a good impression, it was a memorable one. One month later, he and I started dating, and the rest is history.

And Baby Makes Three, Four, Five!

We married while I was still in school. He’d graduated the previous spring and had started working toward his professional degree. I was finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in English and History, but it would take me another ten years to get my Bachelor of Education. Fifteen months after the wedding, our son was born. Then, sixteen months later, our second son, and eighteen months after that, our daughter. Were things easy with three young kids and only one income? No, but times were simpler and everything was less expensive than it is today. I was a stay-at-home, breadmaking, cookie baking mom. No daycare costs, no work wardrobe. Of course, I wasn’t the only one. Most of the women in our neighborhood were also stay at home moms.

Technology Moves on, Too

The kids were just babies when technology began to make my life easier. In 1973, I got my own washer and dryer. In 1975, we added a dishwasher to our list of appliances. The color television set showed up in 1978. In 1982, things really improved with our first microwave oven. To this day, I don’t know how I ever managed without it, because that was also the year I went away to university and got my teaching degree. School was two hours away by train, and John stepped up to the plate as chief cook and bottle washer. It was a difficult year, but one that paid off in dividends later.

Time Marches On!

I wish I could say every day was a bed of roses, but it wasn’t. Life happens. Having your kids close together is great–until they all leave home. Just like that, we were empty nesters with grown children. That’s when the fact that we were friends as well as lovers and spouses really made a difference. We had lots in common, enjoyed doing things together, visiting this country, being a couple not just parents again. So twenty-five years of marriage happened, just like that. The best part? We were working, healthy, and able to enjoy life.

The Last Twenty-Five

So many things have happened since then. Personal computers, tablets, cellphone, Bluetooth … where to stop? Who can forget all the kerfuffle about Y2K? Banks were going to crash, computers would fail, the electric grid would go down … and what happened? Nothing. We celebrated the coming of the new millennium and life moved on.

Middle son graduated with a PH D and got married. Daughter graduated and got married. Eldest son overcame serious mental illness and got on with his life. And we soldiered on.

Today, we have five wonderful grandchildren, although thanks to COVID, I haven’t see the eldest since 2018.

I retired from teaching in 2010, and with my husband’s support, the Internet and a PC of my own, I embarked on my lifelong dream of becoming an author. I published my first book in 2013, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve used my experiences and the places I’ve been, always with him by my side to craft my books. Do I believe in soulmates? Yes. I was lucky enough to find mine fifty-two years, and I don’t plan to ever let go. Today, we’re slower than we were, but we still enjoy one another’s company. He is my life and my love. Here’s hoping we can have many more years together.

We leave on a second honeymoon shortly and a friend asked my husband who he was going with. He said “with my wife.”

Hey, we didn’t take anyone else on our first honeymoon, why would we do that now?

If you’re looking for a few cute meets, let me suggest The Tipsy Pig, found in the Cute But Crazy 3 set. https://www.amazon.com/Cute-But-Crazy-Unique-Unpredictable-ebook/dp/B08PC9MLVV

Looking for more of my books, check out my Amazon author page! https://www.amazon.com/Susanne-Matthews/e/B00DJCKRP4

I’ll tell you all about my second honeymoon next month. There will definitely be a book there!

What Did You Do Last Summer?

Are there questions that trigger specific memories for you?

For me, the question “what did you do last summer” is one of those. As a student, it was always the title of the year’s first composition. When I became the teacher, it was the title of the semester’s first assignment. As an English teacher, I usually asked for a piece of writing, but were I to do it again today, I might accept a work of art, like my granddaughter’s painting of the river where they are enjoying a family vacation in a rented cottage. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Wouldn’t you like to be there now?

It wasn’t until last summer and then again this year that I realized how difficult answering that question was for those unfortunate enough to have done nothing all summer–make that all year long.

And Then There Was COVID

For years, I looked forward to the summer because that was the time when we could travel. As a teacher, married to an accountant, there was no way I could get away in the winter, but come the end of the school year, the world was mine to explore. I retired from teaching, but hubby still works. While we’ve been able to snatch a few January vacations in the past, the Coronavirus has put an end to that. I have not had a vacation since January 2020. I looked forward to getting away in the summer, but that didn’t work out either. Now that July is drawing to a close, the winter and summer of 2021, don’t look a whole lot different.

Staycations

So how have I compensated? I’ve had staycations. I’ve spent more time in my yard this year than I ever have. Thanks to the weather, everything is lush and green. To cope with the high humidity, we even installed a pool! Here you can see hubby filling our foot cooling pool. It may not be fancy, but it works!

We have Happy Hour every afternoon at four, weather permitting, and sit out, soaking our feet in our glamorous tub.

So how have I filled the hours before sitting in the pool? I’ve worked on new stories, edited old ones and spent time contemplating where I want to go from here. I’ve had my vaccines, but I don’t think we are going to get back to where we were anytime soon. Masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washings are here to stay. Still, we can try to make the best of it and use our time productively. For me, that meant publishing The Tipsy Pig. Set during the pandemic, it’s an amusing story about a former socialite, a reclusive author, a he-cat who’s actually a she, and a potbellied pig with a fondness for dandelion wine.

The Blurb

A former socialite, a recluse, and a tipsy pig—the perfect recipe for disaster or romance?Dreading publicity over her recent divorce, her ex-husband’s arrest, and her upcoming 40th birthday, Sahara Larson, the former CEO of Larson Enterprises, escapes from Toronto to hide away at a friend’s rustic cabin near Algonquin Park. The future looks bleak, but among her neighbors is Hiram Colson, a reclusive bestselling author who rescues discarded pets. Will he be able to rescue her, too? Can a potbellied pig with a penchant for homemade dandelion wine unite two lonely people?

The Tipsy Pig is the fourth book in my Cocktails for You series. Believe it or not, a Tipsy Pig is a bacon flavored cocktail, and the recipe is in the story! Get yours for only 99 cents USD or free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

Don’t forget to check out all the great box sets available from the ABB including the new Sweet & Sassy A New Beginning which features my book, Forever and Always. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B098PLHBMT as well as Unforgettable Satisfaction featuring Echoes of the Past https://www.amazon.com/Unforgettable-Satisfaction-Secrets-Courage-Unforgettables-ebook/dp/B097785RHW

See you next month.

What’s the Story Behind the Story?

Do you like to travel? I do, and I’m always thrilled when I can travel within my own country and learn about the mysteries of Canada, especially those in my own backyard. The photograph shows the landlocked Lake of the Mountain, near Picton, Ontario, a couple of hours away from where I live.

What Makes the Lake Special?

The lake is located approximately 62 metres (203 ft) above the Bay of Quinte, separated from the bay by a limestone cliff. For many years, people have disputed the origin of the seemingly bottomless lake. The nearest estimates put it at 34 metres (112 ft deep). Strangely enough, people can’t agree on where the lake gets its water since the level never changes regardless of weather conditions.

Some think the two small streams to the west and southwest feed it, while others think the extensive swampy area to the east is responsible. Not all hydrologists agree since even in times of drought, when the streams and the swamp dry up, the lake stays the same. Did I mention there’s a small but constant waterfall at one end of the lake that goes down the cliff into the Bay of Quinte?

Obviously, there’s a mystery here, one I decided to explore in my book. Echoes of the Past, a mild paranormal that explores the idea of reincarnated lovers set against a coroner’s search for the truth and what is poisoning the lake.

The Myth

The Lake of the Mountains is located within land once belonging to the Mohawk of Tyendinaga. To them, the lake was sacred. As the story goes, for hundreds of years before the people came to live on the land, Sky Woman lived in the heavens high above it. One day, she gave birth to a daughter who didn’t survive. Sky Woman buried her child and from her dead body came the Three Sisters–Corn, Beans, and Squash, the three crops that fed the tribe.

Iroquois Three Sisters by Barry Lee

The Mohawk believed that the spirit of those sisters dwelt at the bottom of the lake, which they called Onokenoga — “Lake of the Gods.”

Since it was a sacred place, the people would often go the the lake with sacrifices, and offer their thanks or ask for blessings. They also believed that the sisters carried messages to and from Manitto, the Creator.

The Three Sisters were no different from characters in any other mythology throughout the world. As such, they occasionally interfered in the affairs of men.

This was especially true when it came to a Mohawk maiden named Tayouroughay. The maiden was kind, gentle, beautiful–and the daughter of the chief. Her father selected a warrior, Annosothka, to be her husband. This didn’t please her, since she’d fallen in love with Gowanda, a young man from an enemy tribe, whom her people had captured.

The two young lovers planned to escape together. One night, she set him free. When the tribe found him missing, they raised the alarm, but the young man couldn’t be found.

Pleased with the seeming success of their plan, they met secretly. All seemed well until her father announced that it was time for the marriage. Instead of going to her proposed husband, Tayouroughay snuck away from the camp.

She set off in a canoe across the lake to be with the man she loved. Annosothka and other braves saw her and followed her. Before she could reach her lovers arms, he caught up to her. In an effort to escape him, she jumped into the lake near the small waterfall. Unfortunately, the strong current carried her over the wall.

Seeing what happened, Gowanda dove into the lake, but the angry gods determined to keep him there, eternally separated from the one he loved. The Braves searched the waters, but both the maiden and their enemy were gone.

The myth goes on to say that the three sisters took pity on the lovers and led Gowanda’s spirit to a weak place in the limestone wall and showed him a tiny hole. Legend has it that Gowanda worked at that hole until he could squeeze through and join his beloved far below in the waters of the bay. Has he done it yet? No one can say–and the water level never changes.

Echoes of the Past explores what would happen if the two doomed lovers were able to meet and make peace with the Three Sisters, enabling them to have the happily ever after denied them. But, since every one needs a complication, the lovers aren’t the only ones reincarnated.

The Blurb

Born Mohawk, raised white, forensic pathologist, Michelle Thomas is trapped between two worlds—this one and the spirit world where the ghosts of those who’ve drowned speak to her.

Haunted by crippling nightmares of her own drowning death and erotic dreams of a phantom lover, she strives to make sense of her life. When two suspicious deaths occur at the Lake of the Mountain Resort, she’s sent to investigate.

She’ll face the greatest challenge of her career when her past and her present collide. One of these men is her future, but which one—the rich and powerful Mayor Ron Davies, or Tony Steele, the hydrology professor who may be responsible for his students’ deaths? Charged by the spirits of her Mohawk ancestors to atone for her previous sins by protecting Lake of the Gods, can Michelle solve the murders, save the sacred waters, and fulfill her destiny?

You can find Echoes of the Past in the newest box set from the ABB

At only 99 cents USD, or free to read on KU, it’s a bargain you can’t miss. https://books2read.com/USatisaction

Enjoy your holiday weekend! Stay safe.

Coping with Change

These days, I feel as if I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.It’s as if I’ve lost any and all control over my future. Not only is the light at the end of the tunnel an oncoming train, it’s one that’s completely out of control. I’ve done my part. The engineer has been properly trained and has all of the necessary tools at his disposal, but someone tied his hands behind his back, and he’s powerless to do anything. And so, I, too, feel powerless.

To put it another way, I’m adrift on the sea in a leaky rowboat. Whether I survive or not depends on how well others around me follow instructions and bail. Do I enjoy being at the mercy of others? Absolutely not! Do I have a choice? Not really. Unfortunately, there are people in the boat who haven’t realized that we’re sinking in shark infested waters. While they party and carry on, the boat sinks deeper and deeper into the salty brine. All I can do is pray that my lifejacket works.

Ten years ago, when I retired from teaching, I had my future mapped out. I had a bucket list of hopes and dreams, as did most of my fellow retirees. My health was good, and I had enough money to do some of the things I wanted to do. I was also grandmother with kidlets to spoil. The world was my oyster. Until it wasn’t.

Things Changed

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of becoming a published author. I can’t recall a time when I couldn’t read, when I didn’t have a book in my hands. Three years after retiring, I sold the first book I’d ever written to a small, traditional publisher. I was living the dream. Suddenly, I was busier than ever, working longer hours, meeting deadlines, but loving every single minute of it. Was I making a fortune? No, but I was having fun. Locked away with the characters I’d created, the children I’d given birth to in my mind, I lived complex and wonderful adventures that took me to exotic times and places.

Since then, I’ve written more than 33 novels. I have a website and a blog, and I’ve joined the ABB, the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Have there been problems? Definitely. Like many new authors, I’ve felt the pain of unscrupulous publishers who stole from me. I learned the devastating reality that when a big publisher swallows a little one, it doesn’t end well for the authors. Most importantly, I learned to value my skills and talent, stand on my own two feet, and do what was best for me.

What kind of books do I write? The kind with happily ever afters. Of those books, some are histories, others mysteries, some are gory thrillers and others sweet romances. A few have paranormal elements, while others are funny. Each book allows me to share a piece of myself with others.My biggest thrill? Hearing readers tell me how much they love my stories. Once the pandemic struck, stealing away so much of my life, those novels and my ability to keep writing sustained me through the darkest days.

A Time for Everything

The Byrds took a page out of Ecclesiastes in the Bible when they put out their song, Turn, Turn, Turn. As a teenager in the sixties, I couldn’t imagine how my life would change over the decades that followed. I certainly would never have foreseen the world we live in today. Many of the things we take for granted didn’t even exist. I still wonder how we managed without microwave ovens, color television, cell phones, and computers. If I had to give up one of those today, it would have to be TV since I couldn’t survive without the other three.

The world is a smaller place today than it was in my youth. travel is easier, cheaper, and more widespread. On the one hand, that opens up an enormous number of possibilities; on the other, it lands us in the middle of a pandemic. The sky isn’t falling, but at times it feels that way. So, how does a writer cope? You adapt.

One Way of Adapting to a Changing World

During the pandemic, I found two ways to deal with my writing. I could ignore the reality of life as it is now, by pre-dating my books, or I could include the horror of life in a bubble. I predated the story in my newest independent release, The White Dahlia, Book four of The Harvester Files.

The first book in the series, The White Carnation was released in 2015, with The White Lily and The White Iris joining it within the year. When I got my rights back after my publisher was bought out, I re-edited and revised the books in 2019, but I left the story in the time and place it was. When I wrote The White Dahlia, I dated it at the end of The White Iris, book three of the trilogy, and even with my moving the storyline ahead, I was still able to keep it pre-pandemic.

Cover by Melinda De Ross

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Michael and Rafe Colchester escaped death in Alaska and eluded the FBI in Reno when the Harvester Task Force took down the Prophet and his son Adam, putting an end to the threat of the Great Burning. Beth Reynolds, a member of the task force vowed to get them all, but with a trail as cold as the one they had, she had no choice but to go back to Boston. Unable to pick up the pieces of her life there, constantly on the lookout for those who’d served the Prophet, she joined NYPD, hoping the change would help her heal. Called a hero after stopping a crazed shooter in Central Park, she’s slowly getting it together again … until a vicious murder brings it all back. Recognizing the victim whose organs and blood are missing as a Missing Person, she calls for help.

Al Foster moved from St. Louis and joined the NYPD after his ex-wife went missing. He recognizes the body as one of his cold cases. With Beth’s insight, he begins to see things from her point of view and realizes his ex-wife could well have been one of this serial killer’s victims, making solving the case a joint FBI-NYPD operation. But where does the stalker find his prey with its specific blood type?

When forensic evidence points to the fact that this killer may be one of the Colchesters, the case becomes personal for both of them. As he works with her, Al must fight his growing attraction for the woman determined to bring down the Colchesters at all costs, but with Beth possessing all of the qualities they require in a woman, will she get them before they get her?

You can find The Harvester Files and all of my books on my website. https://mhsusannematthews.ca/

Making a Different Choice

Knowing that I couldn’t bury my head in the sand and pretend the pandemic wasn’t happening, I opted to include the necessary precautions we all must follow in my novel The Tipsy Pig, available in paperback or as part of the Cute But Crazy 3, Unique and Unpredictable box set from the ABB. The heroine must deal with masks, social distancing, and many of the other restrictions we all have to face due to the COVID 19 virus, which sadly threatens to stick around a while longer. But even in a pandemic, people have to laugh.

A former socialite, a recluse, and a tipsy pig—the perfect recipe for disaster or romance? Dreading publicity over her recent divorce, her ex-husband’s arrest, and her upcoming 40th birthday, Sahara Larson, the former CEO of Larson Enterprises, escapes from Toronto to hide away at a friend’s rustic cabin near Algonquin Park. The future looks bleak, but among her neighbors is Hiram Colson, a reclusive bestselling author who rescues discarded pets. Will he be able to rescue her, too? Can a potbellied pig with a penchant for homemade dandelion wine unite two lonely people?

Check it our for yourself. https://www.amazon.com/Cute-But-Crazy-Unique-Unpredictable-ebook/dp/B08PC9MLVV

And while you’re there, don’t miss the other terrific box set released this month. Brazen Protectors (Protect and Desire 4) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094H7KBWH

So what’s next?

I’ve had my second dose of the vaccine, and I’m praying that enough others will follow suit. Until we are all vaccinated, life can’t go back to being the way it was. I have places to see, people to meet, and things to do. The window of time is shrinking. Here’s hoping things improve sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing, incorporating the details of life as best as i can. Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and pleasant month of June.