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.

It’s Snow Time … Again!

Living in Eastern Ontario, Canada, snow in winter is inevitable. It looks so pretty, especially around Christmas time. Believe me, it quickly loses its appeal, especially during the week.

When I was working as a teacher, the routine of getting up earlier than usual to go out and start the car and clean off the snow was a common one that could start as early as late October. That snow rarely stayed, but it was a warmup for what was to come. By December, the white stuff was here for the duration. On snowy mornings, I would get into the warm vehicle and take my life in my hands driving on barely plowed streets to get to my school.

If it wasn’t too bad, the buses would be running, and the kids would be there. Occasionally, the weather would deteriorate, and the buses would be back early to pick them up. More often than not, erring on the side of caution, the buses would be cancelled. Apparently, the roads would be too treacherous for heavy yellow buses to travel, but safe enough for teachers in flimsy sedans. Go figure!

Canceled buses didn’t necessarily mean there would be no students. If children were too young to be left alone and no magical babysitter or parent were around to watch them, the little darlings would be dropped off at the door, hopefully dressed for the weather, and the teachers became babysitter of the day, herding the kids from one play activity to another, one movie to another, or one outdoor recess to another.

I spent most of my career in education working in secondary schools, teaching English to students in grades 9 through 13. On snow days, the number of students was proportionate to the time of day. At the first bell and attendance, you might have a third of your class there. By noon, the school was empty. Now, that might sound like an easy day for a teacher–it wasn’t. Just like that, the teacher’s plans for the day and the week flew out the window. Every lesson had to be moved. Even if there were kids in the class, you weren’t allowed to cover new material. If a snow day occurred during examination days, then every exam for the day was canceled and moved to the next, moving the exam for that day and so on. The only thing that never moved was the day final marks had to be in the office.

Since I’ve retired, snow days don’t annoy me quite so much. For a while, I would go over and babysit my grandchildren, but now they are all in their teens and a snow day for them is time to sleep in. Today, it’s another day before the exam needs to be written, time to get just a bit more cramming in. The birds are settling in for a long day and so am I, working on my newest manuscript.

As a kid, I loved days like this, perfect for making snow angels and building snow forts. It’s not sticky enough for snowmen, but as the temperature climbs, it may be.

As an adult, since I was never one for winter sports and can’t ski, I groan about shoveling snow, although that simply means some light shoveling around the door. We’re fortunate enough to have a neighbor who looks after the driveway. Tomorrow, the sun will be out, the temperature will climb and some of this will melt away, until the next time it starts all over again.

Since snowstorms are such a large part of my winters, I’ve included one in The Regal Rose, my new book currently available for pre-order. Here’s a preview of what it’s like to drive in the snow.

Anna squinted through the windshield, the wipers barely making a dent in the snow that was falling harder now than it had earlier. The windshield defroster was on full blast but seemed to be having little effect. The weather combined with her nerves eroded what little was left of her confidence.

“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she said aloud, her voice echoing inside the rental car. “If the storm was bad enough to shut down an airport, what made me think I could drive through it?”

fashion studio photo of beautiful sensual couple in elegant clothes

This whole side trip had been a colossal mistake. The closer she got to Abbot’s Cove, the more convinced she was that she wouldn’t find Trucker, or if she did find him, he wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her. Besides, as she’d told Erik, he probably had a wife and children. Hell, he might not even recognize her. If that were the case, she would arrange to buy a couple of horses and leave without revealing the truth. At the very least, she might be able to salvage her pride, but deep down, she doubted it.

This was a fool’s errand, and she would probably end up married to some rich, old goat she could barely tolerate. Damn Erik! He’d played the game masterfully, letting her think he was trying to help, tricking her into facing her fears, drawing a promise from her that she’d refused to consider. His call this morning had probably been to ensure she wouldn’t backdown. She didn’t know what he’d told father, but whatever it was had pleased the king. Now, here she was trying to do something that might well be impossible. Unfortunately, neither of them had taken the weather into consideration. As she’d said to Klaus, it snowed in Retsenburg, but never like this. It was as if a cloud had dropped out of the sky and smothered the area with her trapped inside it.

Had agreeing to search for Trucker at Rosemount, the stud farm Erik had suggested, been another calculated error on her part? If he knew about the roses, then he must’ve known who the owners were. Rachel’s Roses. Trucker hadn’t mentioned his mother’s name. If she were his mother then she could give her answers, but what if she wasn’t? The farm was ten miles east of Abbot’s Cove, and that seemed to be the direction from which the storm hailed. As she drove along, the road conditions continued to deteriorate, and it grew dark, making matters worse.

Fifteen minutes later, she sent up a prayer of gratitude when she reached the exit to Abbot’s Cove. As she drove along, she realized that it had been some time since anyone else had and the ruts in the snow that she was following were filling up quickly. She’d passed two cars that had gone off the road but didn’t dare stop for fear of getting stuck. Hopefully, there was no one in them. She honked her horn and was satisfied the cars were empty when she got no response from either vehicle.

She was still three miles from the town and another ten from the stud farm. It was already after five. She’d lost the signal for the radio station, and the car’s GPS was offline. If ever there was a sign that she’d made another bad decision, this was it.

“I’m going to stop at the first hotel or motel I see, get a room, and stay put until the storm ends. It’s the only sensible thing to do … not that I’ve been sensible so far.”

Gritting her teeth and gripping the steering wheel so tightly that her fingers ached, she continued her drive into the unknown.

The snow persisted. Anna’s progress was slow, her speed down to less than twenty miles an hour, and the headache she’d nursed all day was back with a vengeance. Didn’t they have snowplows in this country? When she saw the sign indicating that she’d reached the outskirts of town, she let out a sigh of relief that quickly turned to dismay. Driving along the main street, she saw nothing that resembled a place to stay. To make matters worse, it was dark, and there were no lights of any kind to indicate people lived there—no neon signs, no streetlamps, not even a traffic signal. It was as if the entire town had shut down for the winter. Visibility was poor; she couldn’t even tell where the side streets were.

The Regal Rose is available only in the Irresistible – New Beginnings With Your First Love box set available in February 2023. Watch for it!

Want a break from the cold and snow? Check out Desert Deception, in the Unforgettable Devotion box set. https://www.amazon.com/Unforgettable-Devotion-Passion-Rachelle-Ayala-ebook/dp/B0BRWSSYG3

A Message from Dani Haviland: It’s Green in Arizona!

My friend, Dani Haviland, is on holiday with her family in the Superstition Mountains area of Arizona. Unfortunately, she’s without Internet access at the moment, and has asked me to share these pictures with you.

When I think of the Arizona Desert, I don’t think of green and yet the pictures she’s sent me show how lush, verdant, and beautiful the area is

I just love the gorgeous variety of cacti. Someday, I hope to see the area for myself.

Dani’s fortunate to be able to spend a few days there with her siblings. Have fun, Dani. We’ll see you when you get back.

My book, Desert Deception is set in the Superstition Mountains in summer, not January, when it’s quite a bit warmer. You can find it in Unforgettable Devotion, published this month, containing stories by both Dani and me. Get your copy today

Post-Christmas Blahs? Surprise! They’re Perfectly Normal.

It happens to most of us, and yet we’re afraid to admit it. Why? Maybe we think it’s a sign of weakness, but it isn’t. Christmas is a holiday that, for some, involves a great deal of work and preparation. If you live in the United States, it begins mid-November with Thanksgiving and doesn’t end until New Year’s Eve? Is it any wonder you burn out? All that shopping, decorating, cleaning, baking, cooking, not to mention eating and drinking has to catch up with you sooner or later. And if everything isn’t as perfect as you hoped, well, sometimes you feel like a deflated balloon. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation may exaggerate the situation, but in our own small ways, we’ve all been there.

And once the madness of the day is over, for many, there are kids underfoot who need to be looked after and entertained until they go back to school. If the weather’s good, they can go outside to play, but if it isn’t, well, that’s a whole new problem. Maybe all the toys and gifts they found under the tree will help, but sooner or later, you’ll hear the words, “I’m bored.” It’s no wonder we get depressed.

According to happiness expert and psychologist Dr Melissa Weinberg from Deakin University’s School of Psychology, post-holiday blues, which consist of a heightened sense of negativity some of us experience at this time of year, is really good for us. It’s actually a sign of healthy psychological functioning.

The post-holiday blues typically reflect the emotional cost of having just enjoyed a few weeks of fun. Despite the well-intentioned adage, the best things in life aren’t actually free.

They typically involve financial, physical, and emotional compromise.

The whole concept of the post-holiday blues involves two inherent assumptions:

  1. That your holiday was enjoyable, and
  2. That you would rather be on your holiday than at work.

So, what happens when it’s over, when the tree is down, the house cleaned up, the kids back in school, and the worst of the winter weather sets in? Here’s some advice from the Realbuzz Team (4-minute read)

Top 10 Ways to Beat the Post-Christmas Blues

The post-Christmas period can leave many of us feeling down. Thankfully, there are many ways to get your spirits back up after the festive period. Here are 10 tips for beating the post-Christmas blues.

Make A Plan

After the excitement of Christmas, going back to a regular, mundane routine is enough to lower anybody’s spirits. A good way to alleviate this feeling of ennui is to create something to look forward to. Depending on your budget and lifestyle, this could be anything from planning a night out to booking a trip away. Whatever you plan, make sure it is something you will really look forward to, then start counting down the days.

Exercise Your Funny Bone

Laughter has been proven to be an extremely effective mood booster; releasing endorphins which instantly raise spirits and give a feeling of wellbeing. To help raise your spirits, download a funny movie or book and spend a few hours exercising your laughter muscles.

Brave Your Fears

If you are feeling listless and uninspired following the Christmas period, there is nothing guaranteed to energise you so much as stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a few risks. Make a commitment to doing one thing a week (or day) that makes you feel scared and takes you out of your comfort zone. Whether it is something small (like starting a conversation with a stranger) or big (like emigrating to another country), conquering your fears is guaranteed to put you in a positive mood.

Get Active

Although feeling glum is unlikely to put you in the mood to exercise, getting up and active is actually one of the best things you can do. Exercise not only releases mood boosting endorphins, but if weight gain is one of the things getting you down following Christmas it will help you to quickly shift those excess pounds. Get out in the fresh air for a run, or try a spot of yoga or Tai Chi to help put you in a better frame of mind.

Watch What You Eat

While it may be tempting to bury your sorrows under piles of junk food, a healthy diet is actually much more effective at helping you feel good. Some mood-boosting foods to stock up on are those containing B vitamins (which help the brain produce serotonin) such as wholegrains, nuts and marmite, and those containing Omega-3 fatty acids (which can help lift depression), such as oily fish or flaxseeds.

Don’t Be SAD

If you think that the darkness and cold weather that many of us experience during the festive season might be contributing to your blues, you may be one of many people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If you find that you feel more depressed or lethargic over the autumn and winter months, it may be worth investing in a SAD light box which can help reduce the negative effects caused by the lack of natural light during this season.

Be Selfless

If you find that you are fixated on your mood post Christmas, it is a good idea to distract yourself by putting the focus on to others. Take some time out to do some volunteer work, or if you are short of time make a commitment to doing one small act of kindness a day such as listening to a friend’s problem or smiling at a stranger. Not only will helping others distract you from your own feelings but it will help you put things into perspective. As an added bonus, smiling is contagious and helping others feel happy will also put you in a better mood.

Perk Up Your Social Life

Spending time with others can be one of the greatest mood boosters, but you can’t always rely on everybody else to make the plans. If your social life could do with a boost following Christmas, it’s time to get proactive. Pick up the phone and give someone a call or arrange to visit someone who lives a long way away. Alternatively, take up a hobby or join a club and start meeting some new people to spend time with.

Get Your Finances In Order

One of the reasons many people feel blue after Christmas is because they have worries over their finances – and the damage Christmas has wreaked on them – hanging over their head. Rather than worrying about it, sit down and sort out your financial situation. See what shape you are in financially and, if necessary, set yourself a budget for the next few months or so. This may make you feel even worse right now but going on in ignorance means that your worries will only eat away at you. Face your finances, work out how to move forward, and then you can move on happier.

Ring The Changes

If the thought of going back to your regular routine is really depressing you, perhaps you should see this as a sign you need to make some changes. Although everyone feels a bit down about returning to work, if the thought is really making you blue then maybe it’s time to think about changing your job. Alternatively, perhaps you need to think about ditching another aspect of your lifestyle that is making you unhappy–your partner, perhaps, or those extra pounds in weight. Look at what needs to be changed then make a plan to tackle it in small steps. Instead of despairing over the end of Christmas, go into the new year motivated and ready to kick-start your best year yet.

But if you want to hang on to the Christmas spirit just a little bit longer to lighten your mood, check out the many box sets available from the ABB, Including, Unforgettable Christmas Miracles!

That’s it for this month. Wishing you all a prosperous and Happy New Year!

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Have you ever stood on your head? It seems simple enough. Select a spot close enough to the wall to offer you some support. Grab a pillow for your head since the floor is hard and, with your head in the center of the pillow, launch yourself upwards, working work your feet along the wall until you’ve reached a pseudo-standing position.

Now, once you’ve done this, you’re in the perfect position to look at the upside-down world around you. But a cautionary word. Stay like that too long, and you’ll get a headache.

I’ve always believed that life is an ongoing learning process. And while there were times that I felt as if I had to literally stand on my head to do so, recently I’ve found myself figuratively doing so one more.

What has me so bemused? Change and the constant need for more change. I hate to admit it, but I’ve reached a point in my life where change seems harder and harder to accept. Today, I attempted a new skill. I put together a Table of Contents for one on my eBooks on Amazon. In the past, I simply skipped over that suggestion, but since I wanted to put some of my books in a series into a box set, I had to learn how to do it. Believe me, teaching this old dog that new trick wasn’t easy. Thankfully my son is home for a few days and in his best Computers for Dummies and Parents patient voice, he managed to guide me through it. Was it easy? No. Were there raised voices and frustration? Yes. Did I get it done? I did!

The reason I had to learn to do this is because my wonderful cover artist, Melinda de Ross made me all new covers for my Cocktails for You series, and I decided to update the blurbs along with the new vector covers. The second thing I needed to relearn was how to write blurbs. Let me make this perfectly clear. I despise writing synopses and cover blurbs, so having to go back and do them again was akin to root canal. But Melinda knows best, and figuratively kicking, screaming, and standing on my head, I got to work. Here are the results. All of these books are available in Kindle Unlimited.

She left him in stitches before pulling a Cinderella and disappearing. Ten years later, she wants a second chance.

Kelly Winters, an up-and-coming recreational facilities designer, is thrilled to be part of Conway Enterprises’ latest resort reconstruction in Mexico.

Discovering Liam Conway, a blast from the past and sexier than ever, will be her seatmate on the flight thrills her, especially when he’s willing to forget parts of their first encounter and start fresh.

When Liam shows up at the Mexican restaurant where she and her coworkers are enjoying lunch, she can’t believe her luck. Sun, sand, and sex. Who could ask for more?

But when she realizes Liam is Conway’s CEO and her new boss, her hopes plummet. Can they make their renewed attraction work, or will it be another short-lived office romance?

Grab a copy of Tequila Sunrise today: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PCCXH1W

She wrote a nasty letter to Santa, not expecting he would send a life-sized elf to her door with an offer she can’t refuse.

All Ronnie Daniels wants this year is to give her daughter Dottie a memorable Christmas. Unfortunately, she can’t find the special doll she needs to make that happen and blames the toy company for the shortage.

When the company’s new CEO takes her letter seriously and shows up at the bar where she works, Ronnie is mortified to discover he’s none other than the boy she humiliated herself in front of in high school.

Can she give her daughter the Christmas she deserves and have all of her own dreams come true, or will this be a blue Christmas for them both?

Get your copy of Champagne Cocktail today: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Q4LJPCD

She’s determined to control her own destiny and not be a bargaining chip in her father’s business empire.

Jewel Wellington, leaves home and masquerades as Jess Wells, a singer with the Silvertones. The honky tonk band expects a three-week gig at The Squawking Tomcat, a bar on the outskirts of Alice, Texas. Unfortunately, the bar’s owner, Lance Corcoran, doesn’t hire women and wants to send them away. Jess makes a deal with the bar’s owner—pick any song by any artist, and let her prove she and the Silvertones can do the job as well as any men could

Unfortunately, the bar’s crusty cowboy owner is none other than the surfer she spent one steamy night with eight years ago, one she left without saying goodbye. If Lance recognizes her, will it cost them the gig and force her back home to a marriage she doesn’t want?

Get your copy of Buck’s Fizz here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Y65XT1D

A socialite, a lone wolf, a snowstorm, and a pig with a taste for dandelion wine—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 escapes from Toronto with her cat hoping to hide at a friend’s rustic cabin near Algonquin Park.

Among her unusual neighbors is handsome Hiram Colson, a recluse who rescues discarded pets and has his own reasons for avoiding the press.

When the truth comes out, will it bring them closer together or force them apart for good?

Get your copy of The Tipsy Pig here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099LVMH4C

What’s an author to do when she’s hopelessly stuck and the deadline is eight weeks away?

Bestselling author Sydney Sanders, aka Robin Langford, is stumped. On impulse, the thirty-three-year-old introvert decides to immerse herself in her story by assuming her heroine’s identity. She heads to Manhattan determined to live out the plot and finish the story.

What she doesn’t expect is to fall for the handsome stranger on the train and have the best sex of her life.

When he discovers her real identity, will it destroy their fantasy romance?

Get your copy of Make Mine a Manhattan here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09M4WDLG7

You don’t always get what you want, especially when a typo can spell disaster.

Photographer Lee Andrews has sworn off men and hopes this assignment with travel writer Sasha Fedorov will bring her the recognition she craves. She’ll be sharing a room with the author for the duration of the trip.

Discovering Sasha is male changes everything, especially when he didn’t expect to be working with a woman. Both are determined to be adult about the situation, keep their distance, and complete the contract. But that may be easier said than done, especially when the attraction she feels for him is magnetic.

Can they keep their hormones in check and get the job done or will her heart be broken along with the contract if they can’t?

Get your copy of Emerald Glow here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PRPZBKZ

What do you do when your family disappoint you? Run away, of course.

Eva Malone wants two things out of life: her freedom and answers about her past.

When she inherits a resort from an uncle she didn’t even know existed, she heads to the seaside town where she was born, eager to uncover old secrets. When she arrives, the old resort is a disaster, the sky’s about to open, and there isn’t a room to be had anywhere in town.

Mysterious and handsome Callum Doyle emerges from the darkness and offers her a bed for the night. But the oh-so-hot tour boat captain, carpenter, and chef may have an agenda of his own. He’s determined to keep his promise to Eva’s uncle, no matter the cost.

Fighting her attraction to the man is impossible, but when she learns the truth, will it drive Eva into his arms or make her run away again?

Get your copy of Sea Breeze here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XY11W43

You can pick up the first five books in a box set that saves you 50% off buying the Ebooks individually..

A delicious smorgasbord of romantic comedies designed to make you laugh and brighten your day.
Meet Kelly, Ronnie, Jewel, Sydney, and Robin, five women at a crossroad in life, each one searching to redefine themselves as only they can. Follow them as they blunder their way to falling in love and finding their own happily ever after.

Why not pick up the set today. Alos available in Kindle Unlimited! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BN9DWJSJ

So, that was my lesson for today. Don’t forget to check out all of the ABBs wonderful Christmas box sets including Unforgettable Christmas Miracles featuring Forever in my Heart.

Get your copy of Unforgettable Christmas Miracles here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BL998MT6