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.

Revenge Makes the World Go Round

Revenge is without a doubt the greatest motivator of all times. People will commit unspeakable deeds in the name of revenge, and why? Because when we perceive that we’ve been wronged, most of us simply can’t walk away. Wars have been waged, blood feuds created, all because one person didn’t find the retribution they wanted, as Homer and Bart show us.

But not all of us can get our revenge as easily as Homer does. Some of have have to plot and plan. The problem with revenge is that it’s all consuming. It eats away at you day after day, week after week, keeping the wound raw and open. If you are plotting revenge, it constantly preys on your mind. It can stop you from sleeping, from moving ahead in life, from ever being happy.

In Titus Andronicus, William Shakespeare said:

We’ve all been there, probably more often than we’d like to admit. Hollywood has made a fortune on movies with revenge as a theme. Think John Wicks, Cape Fear, The Count of Monte Cristo, even Moby Dick.

At one time or another, we’ve all felt the need to retaliate against someone who’s harmed us in some way. Most of us have been victims of bullying, either as children, teens, or adults. We’ve imagined creative ways of getting payback–a zinger of our own. an orchestrated trip, a nasty message on social media where anonymity gives us power. Still, rarely will we plot to kill someone and then follow through. To me, one of the best movies that shows the subtle and not so subtle bullying and revenge is Mean Girls.

While we’ve all had to deal with bullying, not all of us end up obsessed by it. Some of us can walk away, because the best revenge is to succeed where you were expected to fail.

Sadly, few people understand the difference between revenge and vengeance. In Fire Angel, the second book in my five book series, Vengeance Is Mine, both revenge and vengeance are explored.

Cover created by Melinda De Ross.

Everything happens for a reason.


Criminal profiler Jake McKenzie returned from Afghanistan minus a leg, determined never to let anyone get close enough to hurt him again. When his old friend asks him to help with a serial arsonist case, he jumps at the chance to prove his worth, but as the bodies pile up, he realizes he needs help. He convinces the chief to bring in a fire investigator, stunned to discover that the woman is none other than the girl who vanished from his life twenty years ago.

Alexis Michaels fled Paradise and an abusive uncle only to almost die in a fire that left her scarred not only on the outside, but on the inside, leaving her with psychic abilities. With that gift, she’s climbed to the top of her profession. Her abilities may be the only thing that can find and stop the Fire Angel, a pyromaniac turned revenge arsonist serial killer who’s slowly turning a peaceful town into Hell on Earth. The problem is, to do the job, she has to return to the one place where she swore she would never set foot again.

Faced with confusing emotions and a killer who’s made it clear he wants her to stay out of his business, Alexis must deal with the past before she can move on. But things may get too hot even for her as the Fire Angel moves toward the final act in his revenge drama.

The main plot focuses on stopping a serial killer, an arsonist who gets bolder with every move, exacting his revenge against those who wronged him.

A subplot deals with Alexis facing the man she believes ruined her life, an abusive uncle, now a broken man asking for forgiveness.

The romance is woven throughout the book as Jake faces his own demons and memories, fighting to learn to love and trust again.

You can pick up Fire Angel and seven other great suspense stories in Unforgettable Revenge: Glory and Satisfaction (The Unforgettables Book 21) for only 99 cents or read it free in Kindle Unlimited.

So, what’s it going to be? Revenge or vengeance?

Trying Something Different

My grandson attending a comic book convention costumed as Clark Kent.

Have you ever been to a comic book or sci-fi convention? Under normal circumstances, we have one here each spring. Two years ago, my grandchildren decided to attend the convention costumed. We had a Wonder Woman, a Supergirl, a Terminator, and Clark Kent–not Superman, but Superman’s alter ego. Most kids there opted for the cape and blue tights, but not Tonio. He chose to be the one most people overlooked–the bumbling reporter who could morph into the superhero at the drop of a hat. The purple cape on his shoulders is the sign of another superhero, one who made a donation to support local paramedics. So, given the choice, which costume would you choose?

If COVID 19 has taught me anything, it’s that life can change in an instant, and no one can singlehandedly fix it. Not even Superman or Clark Kent. We have to change and adapt to our circumstances. They will not adapt to us. It hasn’t been easy for me because, truth be told, at seventy, I’m rather set in my ways.

Each January, I make a point of looking back on the previous year, rueing what went wrong and celebrating what went right. While it’s true that the year was a hard one, there have been some personal victories, one of which was stepping out of the box and embracing a new writing style.

In the past, my bestselling novels have been my romantic thrillers, but last year, I decided to try something new. The last thing I ever thought I would enjoy writing were short novellas, written in the first person with the sole purpose to make the reader read, relax, and laugh.

My first attempt was Tequila Sunrise, based on the last vacation I was able to take before the virus simply grounded us. A short version of the story is available in the Summer Shorts box set.

I released the story independently in December adding more words to the story, fleshing out scenes, adding visits to other places I’s seen in Mexico.

I decided that these shorter novels would become part of a new series of 99 cent books called Cocktails for You. More people seemed to be reading now that many are staying home, but sometimes a quick read is best

I wrote a second story in the same fashion when I was part of the Dear Santa, A Christmas Wish box set. What Dottie Wants.

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When I released this one independently, I once again gave it a makeover, adding to the backstory, bringing in eccentric secondary characters and adding to the ending. The novella was renamed Champagne Cocktail and became the second book in the Cocktails for You series

The third book in my new series is Buck’s Fizz, currently available in the New Year’s Eve Shorts box set. I will be releasing this one on it’s own in March.

The author’s Billboard has given me an opportunity to grow as a writer and to try new things. So, while I continued to write my romantic thrillers, having added a fifth book to my Vengeance is Mine series, Secrets and Lies, I’m also looking for ways to entertain and expand my fan base and bring you books I hope you’ll enjoy.

So, when you pick up a book, what genre of romance do you prefer? I’ll take anything, as long as I get my happy ending. And, if I were to go to a costume party, I’d choose the alter ego, too.

A Different Kind of Christmas

For many of us, this year celebrating Christmas was a challenge. We were unable to get together with our friends and families the way we’ve done in the past, but that’s forced us to become more creative in the way we do things.

With COVID 19 still playing a huge role in our lives, we are at the mercy of the virus, and none more so that our seniors, especially those in long-term care homes who’ve been cut off from face to face contact with others. The last time I hugged and kissed my mother goodbye was March 15, 2020. Mom was in the hospital waiting to be moved to a long-term care facility. The next day she was moved and the national lockdown began. When the first wave of the pandemic hit, we were able to go and visit with her at the front doors of the home and speak to her over the phone. We could see her, and that assured us she was as well as could be expected. By the end of the summer, things improved enough that we could take her out for coffee or home for a meal.

But that all fell apart again when the second wave hit, and the pandemic worsened. We’d hoped to be able to take her home for Christmas dinner. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way. COVID made its way into the home and the facility was shutdown, forcing her to not only remain inside but stay in her room. She has tested negative all along, and we hope the outbreak will be officially ended on Tuesday, but that didn’t help with Christmas. So what’s a caring family supposed to do?

On Christmas Eve, the grandchildren went to church, a much smaller congregation than normal, while Grandpa and I watched them via You Tube. They read and were the puppeteers for the Christmas story.

They did a wonderful job, and while it wasn’t the same as being there, singing the hymns, and absorbing the wonderful atmosphere that has always been part of my Christmas, we made do.

Afterwards, they came to the house for a socially distanced Christmas Eve feast and the first round of opening presents, but this year, Nana wasn’t able to share in that.

Mom sitting in her bedroom window, blowing kisses to the rest of us outside.
My side of the family, minus those living in Norway. I’m in the blue and white jacket.
My sister’s family looking up at Nana. My sister is the one waving.

So it was a very different family visit, but it made Mom’s day. At 93, with the Coronavirus still killing people every day, her life has changed as has ours, but she’s as safe as she can be, and that’s all we can hope for.

Mom wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas is all about family. There are several ABB box sets that you can choose from to keep the feeling alive a little longer.

And, if you’re looking for something quick to read,check out New Year’s Eve Shorts.

So, no matter the challenge, we can get creative this year, do things a little differently, and look forward to 2021 when hopefully things will get better.

Commercials: Beautiful Christmas Thoughts and So Much More

Hello and Happy Black Friday, although this year may not be as big a shopping blow-out as in previous years. I, for one, am avoiding all stores and in-person shopping. There is nothing I need so badly that I can’t find it online or in one of the three places I shop for food and stuff.

With so many of us staying home this year, television has become a bigger part of our lives and many of our attitudes are framed by the big box.

As a child, there were some things you never, ever spoke of out loud–things like feminine hygiene products, incontinence, impotence, diarrhea, constipation, pregnancy tests, condoms, I could go on and on, but you get the gist. Today, more than half the commercials deal with these formerly forbidden topics, luxury cars, and fast food. The others are relegated to insurance, banking, and upcoming programming. But Not all commercials are created alike.

This year, I was particularly touched by McDonald’s commercial. Having gone through this with my own sons growing up and seeing mt daughter doing the same with my grandchildren, it touched me deeply.

Another one that touched me was the one for Coke

Sometimes, they just get it right. But my all time favorite was last year’s Air Canada one.

So, like Christmas movies, there are Christmas Commercials. If you believe, you can dream. May all your Christmas wishes come true.

Check out all the Christmas Romances available to you from the Author’s Billboard and Have a wonderful holiday season.