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.

Rising from the Ashes: Forever in my Heart

My fifteen-year-old granddaughter, Eleni, never ceases to amaze me. This is her latest creation, a reverse Advent calendar. Each of the tiny presents are numbered, and instead of taking them away one by one, the presents, each with a tiny dot of velcro on them, are added under the tree until December 25th. What a neat idea, and one that really brightened my day.

This has been a tough year for many people, and I’ll admit to a few dark days of my own. Instead of being filled with holiday spirit, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Usually November and December were filled with activity as I prepared for the holiday season, but this year, with the virus still active and affecting so many people, I spent more time writing than running around shopping. Have I mentioned what a good online shopper I’ve become?

Inspired and Productive

In all of my novels, I tend to have a universal trope. I enjoy writing stories that show people overcoming adversity. Regardless of the genre, my characters have to deal not only with an external problem, but with an internal one. I feel that this year, more than ever, people have to know that they will strive not only to survive but to overcome.

During a lull of sorts in the virus restrictions, my husband and I took a trip aboard The Rocky Mountaineer to celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary. We met some incredible people. The trip and the friends we met inspired me to write Emerald Glow, the newest romantic comedy book in my Cocktails for You series and currently available in the Cute But Crazy, Quirky Careers boxset. This romantic comedy was inspired not only by the incredible scenery, the people we met, but also by my university friend’s latest hobby, photography. She was the first to read the completed manuscript and loved it. In her words:I finished reading Emerald Glow moments ago. Quite simply, I loved it. You are so very talented and imaginative. I valued learning about your actual tour – you share so many salient details. I am ready to book the same trip! Incorporating the descriptions of sites and historical information is brilliant. And you keep your reader in your clutches!! Lee and Sasha are so real. Their newly made friends, especially Sue and John, are fun and sweeeet! Best Christmas present ever. Thanks Susanne.

Did I mention I wrote myself and my husband into the story?

She’s given up on finding the right man. After a painful divorce, he’s sworn off women. But you don’t always get what you want, especially when a typo can spell disaster.

Following a breakup that’s soured her opinion of men, photographer Lee Andrews is hoping this assignment for an online e-zine will help her set her life on the right path. If she can stay focused on her job and ignore the opposite sex, so much the better.
Alexander Fedorov is a burned out journalist, tired of covering one disaster after another. His recent divorce has left him bitter and determined to stay as far away from the female sex as possible. This new assignment offers a change of pace. As long as he can avoid meddlesome females, he’ll be fine.
When they meet, sparks fly and personalities clash, especially when the full impact of a small typo and making assumptions makes itself known loud and clear. Both are determined to be adult about the situation, keep their distance, and complete the job. But that may be easier said than done, especially when the attraction they feel for each other is magnetic.

This boxset is available from Amazon and is free to read in Kindle Unlimited. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09GYKGCGM

Good For More Than One Book

The inspiration provided by the trip didn’t stop with Emerald Glow. Driving along those roads with their massive cliffs and warning signs — watch for animals and avalanches — had me wondering about accidents along them, especially in inclement weather. Once more, I did a little research, and using what I’d learned on the trip as well as what I’d seen, I came up with a second plot.

I’ve long been fascinated by twins. I went to high school with three sets of identical twins and have fraternal twin cousins. Shortly after we’d planned our trip, I happened to watch a rerun of The Parent Trap, the old one where Hayley Mills played both twins who were separated young when their parents divorced. That got me thinking, so I did more research on twins, identical, fraternal, monoamniotic, and mirror. That research, along with the previous one, led me to Forever in my Heart., the newest addition to my Winter Weddings Series.

All Callista Hayworth has ever wanted was to be loved. Callie’s heart was crushed six years ago when she walked in on her twin sister in the arms of her fiancé. She fled Timberton and cut all ties with the last member of her family. She’s rebuilt her life, but some things can never be fixed. When she learns of the tragic accident that has orphaned her infant nieces, she sets aside her anger and returns to the scene of her greatest heartache. What she doesn’t expect is her reaction to the twins’ uncle and his proposition.
Michael Branscomb swore off women years ago, after the woman he loved left him for his best friend. A deathbed promise to his twin brother has to be honored. The last thing the confirmed bachelor wants or needs is a wife and children, but you don’t always get what you want. He’ll do almost anything for his twin, but can he marry a stranger?
When he meets Callie, commonsense goes out the window, and he proposes a marriage of convenience, offering each of them an end to loneliness and a promise at the future they want.
Will the spirit of Christmas convince Callie to give him a chance, especially when there’s a Grinch in the works determined to see the past repeat itself?

Forever in my Heart is exclusive to Amazon and available to read in Kindle Unlimited, or by ebook. The paperback will be released in January 2022. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09P5NDZVY

That’s it for today. I’ll see you all next year!

Who’s Ready for Christmas 2021?

Our tree

Christmas is, and has always been, my favorite time of the year, especially when there were young children in the family who still believed in the jolly old elf. Back in those days, we had a ritual. Part of it was attending the Santa Claus parade, decorating the tree, participating in the church Christmas pageant, having a home visit from Santa Claus himself, visiting the festive beauty of Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village, enjoying Christmas dinner with family and friends, some of whom left us in 2019, and of course, hoping for snow, lots and lots of snow.

But everything changed in 2020. Last Christmas, the one where we were forced to quarantine, stopped us from participating in many things. I became an online shopper par excellence, not daring to venture out into stores for anything but the basics. There was no parade, no in-person pageant, no Alight at Night, no home visit from Santa, and a much scaled back Christmas dinner. The only thing that came, and even that was less than normal, was the snow.

Times Change, or Do they?

I’m hopeful things will change this year. Christmas 2021 may be almost normal–not the way it was, but close. Thanks to the vaccines, we are no longer in quarantine. Having had three doses of the Pfizer vaccine as well as my flu shot, I’m ready to venture out into society once more. That being said, I’ve become quite comfortable shopping online and attending Sunday service virtually, but there’s a new normal on the horizon. The parade went on as usual this year, the grandkids come today to help me decorate the tree again this year, the church pageant is set for December 12th and we’ll attend it and the Christmas Eve service in person. One of our sons will be coming home, and together we’ll be going to Upper Canada Village to see the lights. While there’s no longer a home visit from Santa, we are expecting plenty of snow, unlike parts of the world struggling with atmospheric rivers and flooding. Here’s hoping everything settles down before the holiday season gets into full swing.

Christmas Reading

Since I like Christmas, it only makes sense to enjoy novels on the topic and the ABB has a wonderful selection for your enjoyment.

So, as I sign off, I wish you all a happy holiday season. May your days be filled with love and sunshine.

When November Comes Calling, What’s on Your Agenda?

As a Canadian, November has never been the most exciting month of the year. Since we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, there’s no holiday with big parades and football games for us. On November 11th, we’ll mark Remebrance Day with somber ceremonies to recall the sacrifices of our soldiers who served in foreign wars, police actions, and disaster relief past and present, but after that, we essentially mark time until December.

We turn back our clocks and watch the days grow shorter, the nights longer. If we haven’t already done so, we dig out our winter boots, winter coats, hats, scarves, mitts, and gloves. We put snowbrushes and ice scapers in our cars and brace ourselves for what’s to come.

Maybe that’s why we like to start thinking about Christmas early. We went out to dinner last night, and the restaurant was playing Christmas carols–a little early for some, but I like that music.

A great way to beat the November blues and get into the holiday mood without going into a decorating frenzy is to pick up a few Christmas books. If you like a little mystery with your holiday cheer, I have Murder & Mistletoe.

Not your typical holiday romance, but the perfect read for someone who is interested in folklore and hidden treasure, with a little good old fashioned murder and suspense on the side.

Going home for Christmas can be deadly.

Candy Kayne agrees to go to Black Oaks, the Georgia plantation her ancestor reluctantly left after the Civil War, to meet the family she’s never known and help Steve set a trap for his wife’s killer. Even the wildest tales have a kernel of truth in them and as she learns more about the family’s history, she realizes that coming here may have been the biggest mistake of her life.

Losing Amy almost destroyed Steve Anderson, but when Candy steps into his life, her sweetness chases the dark gloom away. But when he realizes the man who murdered his wife may have set his sights on Candy, he’ll do whatever he has to in order to keep her safe.

Murder & Mistletoe is exclusive to Amazon and available in KU https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K27QSLD

If you prefer something sweeter, than check out Dear Santa, an ABB box set.

Fall in love SEVENTEEN times over when you read each of these touching holiday stories, brimming with hope, Christmas cheer, and thrilling romance.

Mimi Barbour – Alone at Christmas: Being alone is Tara’s worst nightmare, especially during the holidays. Her wish comes true when she finds Mr. Right injured and stranded, but will they survive the dangerous storm?

Rebecca York – Christmas Miracle 1935: Can he trust her enough to help free her father from jail?

Patricia Rosemoor – Marrying Molly: Dear Santa, Please let me meet a McKenna man who will help me end Sheelin O’Keefe’s horrible curse on both our families. Molly Kavanaugh

Susanne Matthews – What Dottie Wants: All Ronnie wants is to give Dottie a great Christmas, but not being able to find the doll she wants may make that impossible.

Traci Hall – Christmas Kiss: Can a teenage crush become forever love?

Angela Stevens – Dear Sinterklaas: Dan had his heart stolen by a girl on summer vacation, now it’s Christmas time, and with a little bit of magic from Sinterklaas, he hopes to make his Christmas wish come true.

Stacy Eaton – Finding Love with Dear Santa: All Faith wants is to get her life back on track.

Stephanie Queen – He Has Santa: A second chance hockey romance.

Josie Riviera – A Chocolate Box Christmas Wish: He’s been all over the world. She’s a home-town girl. Can a holiday wish bridge the gap?

Mona Risk – Dalia’s Christmas Wish: Will the doctor make the right decision between an angry fiancée and a medical emergency?

Rachelle Ayala – Toy Soldier Christmas: Can a toy soldier make her wish come true?

Dani Haviland – A Plate of Christmas Cookies: Is it too much to ask for a second miracle?

Taylor Lee – Please Christmas: Be Done: When his 7 year old son ran away looking for Santa… and all his teenage daughter wants for Christmas is for it to be done….the district attorney concedes not only did he lose his wife to cancer, but he was in danger of losing his children.

Susan Jean Ricci – Cruising for Mr. Right: Can a widow discover second chance romance aboard a Christmas cruise and make the right choice between two adoring men?

Alyssa Bailey – Christmas Wishes and You: Beth’s Christmas Wish of a Second Chance at Love could happen if only she would be willing to risk her heart… again.

Nancy Radke – Zsuzsa’s Christmas Wish: She asks Santa for a strong man to help corral a mule that won’t stay home and is given a rancher who plans to corral her.

Carmen DeSousa – Chicago Hope: Aspiring journalist Maura Hall dreams of changing the world, but she’ll settle for Chicago.

Champagne Cocktail is an expanded version of What Dottie Wants, with all the behind the scenes info and a little of what comes next in the story. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Q4LJPCD

Do you believe in Christmas magic?

When life gave Ronnie Daniels lemons, instead of lemonade, the single mother learned to make Lemon Drops.

This Christmas, times are tougher than ever, and Ronnie’s number one priority is making the holiday as normal as possible for her five-year-old daughter. All Dottie wants from Santa is a Famous American Ballerina doll. The problem is not only are they expensive, but they’re impossible to find.

After another failed attempt to secure one of the dolls, in her frustration, Ronnie sends a scathing letter to the company, Thomas Toys. As the doll’s manufacturer, one advertising a product they don’t have on hand and can’t deliver before Christmas, it’s their fault that her daughter’s dreams won’t come true.

When the company’s new CEO comes into the bar to apologize for the mishap and try to make amends, Ronnie refuses to listen to him, not just because of Dottie, but they have a complicated history. Determined to fix this, Wyatt won’t back down, and before long the doll isn’t the only thing Dottie and Ronnie want for Christmas.

And finally, wehave another of last year’s terrific box sets, Unforgettable Christmas Joy: Hopes and Promises.

Dreams CAN come true at Christmas.

Join these heroes and heroines in their search for love and joy at this special time of year. Whether it’s in the wilds of Alaska under the Northern Lights, in towns, offices, or hospitals across the land, or on cruise ships under tropical skies, the magic of Christmas will make this the most wonderful time of the year.

And don’t forget to check out Unforgettable Christmas Joy: Hopes and Promises

Nine New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors have crafted stories of love and joy, ranging from sweet to spicy, the perfect box set to read with your favorite holiday beverage. So, whether your Christmas means snow, sand, or something in between, you’re sure to enjoy the romance and joy found in the pages of Unforgettable Christmas Joy: Hope and Promises.

Sweet Christmas:
 Mimi Barbour, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author: Will she destroy her first real Christmas because she’s never been in love or experienced that holiday before?

Christmas Love: Natalie Ann, USA Today Bestselling Author: What happens when even the strongest are blinded by insecurities?

His Christmas Family: Susanne Matthews, International Bestselling Author: Can Christmas magic bring two broken souls together and fill six lives with joy?

Scrooge Falls In Love: Leanne Banks, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author: Millionaire Stock Jock Justin Langdon experiences Scrooge-like dreams that make him re-think his independent lifestyle after new adoptive mom Amy Monroe saves his life.

Holiday By The Sea: Traci Hall, USA Today Bestselling Author: Opposites attract. Can they find a way to make the most unlikely of relationships work?

A Heavenly Christmas: Patrice Wilton, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author: Can the magic of love mend a young woman’s heart?

Alaskan Christmas: Jen Talty, USA Today Bestselling Author: He was the second date that should have lasted a lifetime.

Honeymoon Cruise: Mona Risk, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author: The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the would-be honeymoon cruise may fulfill the dreams of Julia and her unexpected companion.

Bittersweets Christmas – Arvin and Tina: Suzanne Jenkins, USA Today Bestselling Author: What does a Jewish neurologist and a Muslim ER physician have in common? LOVE! And how will they celebrate Christmas? All romance, all the time.

Coming soon: Unforgettable Christmas Promises: Unforgettable Blessings.

So, what’s on your agenda for November? Me, I’ll be reading!

Halloween Excitement: Trick or Treat?

What is your favorite Halloween activity? Is it decorating the house? Selecting costumes? Parties? Trick or Treating? Candy? Horror movie marathons? Or do you have another tradition?

The Ghost of Halloween Past

When I was a child–that would be back in the Stone Age when dinosaurs roamed the Earth– Halloween was the big holiday for two reasons. First, we got to dressup and collect candy and treats, the second, since the following day was a All-Saints Day, Catholic schools were closed. The school would have some sort of celebration during the day where we would play games like bobbing for apples. Can you imagine doing that today? I guess no one knew about germs and transfer in the fifties and early sixties.

If your mother or grandmother sewed, you might have an elaborate costume. Sadly, in my neck of the woods, most kids went out dressed in their parents’ clothes. Boys were girls, girls were boys. We were the original hobos and clowns. Back then, the clock went back earlier, and it was much darker and colder at this time of year. Snow was common. After putting on our outdoor gear, we covered it with whatever Mom had said we could use. With a dime store mask over our faces, we joined our friends for the annual door to door activity.

Simpler Times

The best treats were always the homemade ones–Rice Krispie squares, fudge, cookies, candy and caramel apples. No one handed out canned pop that would weigh us down. We got peanuts, apples, oranges, tiny bags of potato chips, and kiss candies. If you got a chocolate bar, it was a full-sized one. And of course there was candy, packaged in small bags.

No one checked our candy for drugs or razor blades. We divided our stuff into categories–the good stuff, the fruit, the candies we liked, the nuts, and the peanuts which we would feed to the birds and squirrels. How I miss those simpler times.

As I aged, Treat or Treating gave way to parties. Costumes became more elaborate. At university, I went out as Scarlett O’Hara. Seriously, It took hours to style those ringlets in a day and age without blowdryers and curling irons. My future husband wasn’t up for the challenge.

Over the years, we dressed up for adult parties as everything from Raggedy Ann and Andy to an outhouse, complete with a door that opened and closed. It did make drinking and dancing complicated, but I won first prize.

Halloween as a Parent

Having kids changes things. You no longer look at the world through the same eyes, but then this isn’t the same world either.

When the children were young, in the early days, their costumes were a lot like mine had been. Of course, their father took them around while I dished out. Sadly, we were now limited to bagged candy. Fruit and homemade goodies were a no-no, because sick individuals chose to try and harm children that way. Such a pity to see something else ruined by the stupid and selfish.

As they grew older, the children wanted different things. One year, my four year old wanted to be the ‘credible hulk.’ I ripped up a shirt over his snowsuit, covered his face in green makeup. Six hours later, the child most people had called the Little Green Sprout was in the ER covered in welts, allergic to the cosmetic I’d used. Another year, my oldest son wanted to be the headless horseman. Eventually, their costumes reverted back to days of old when my now 12 and 13 years old boys went out as accountants, wearing their dad’s old polyester plaid suits. But time marches on, and soon Trick or Treating gave way to other activities.

Passing the Torch

The one who gets all the kudos for enginuity and carrying on the tradition is my daughter. Angela has four children, all very close in age. She’s made a point of dressing them up each year for the various school, church, and actual Halloween night events. The best by far was the year she dressed them all as characters from the Wizard of Oz, with herself as the Wicked Witch.

Now in middle and high school, their costumes continue to evolve. Last year, Len was the Queen of Hearts. She made her costume and her best friend, the Mad Hatter’s, from items she pruchased at the thrift store. Georgia opted to be Little Red Riding Hood. For the church group party, Nico went as Mrs. Brown, but on Halloween night, when he took his younger brother out, he was The Terminator. The youngest was a Star Wars character.

Now, my favorite part of Halloween is a trip to Upper Canada Village for our annual visit to Pumpkinferno, a display of scenes crafted by art students using artificial pumpkins. Covid 19 stopped us from going the last two years, but this year, we braved the weather and went back. While it was supposed to rain, Mother Nature was kind. Not only was it dry, it was mild, making the evening most enjoyable.

While the children are now 12,13,14, and 15, they still enjoy this traditional treat with their mother and grandparents. They may be taller, but they are still little kids at heart.

My Legacy?

My father loved the whole paranormal aspect of Halloween. Just before he passed away, I started a series for him. The Punishers are a crime fighting team of immortals that includes a couple of shapeshifters, a vampire, and a half elf. They work in New Orleans with the paranaormal underworld of the city including its vampires, witches, and voodoo priests and priestesses. They fight evil bokor and demons, rogue vampires and escaped criminals from hell, all under the guise of NOPD officers tasked with keeping the citizens of both realms of New Orleans safe. There will be a new Punisher book in the fall of 2022.

Both of these books are exclusive to Amazon and available along with all of my others through my website. https://mhsusannematthews.ca/

Not into paranormal? Then please check out some of my other books listed there as well as all of the great ABB box sets featured there.

Enjoy your Halloween. I’ll see you in November.

If you want to get a jump on Christmas, check out this years Unforgettable Christmas Promises: Unforgettable Blessings box set now available for pre-order and set to release October 29, 2021.