Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Susan writes second chance romances with a touch of magic as Susan B. James and children’s books as Susan J. Berger. She writes older heroines because she is chronologically gifted and enjoys creating characters who remember that change is only on the outside. Inside our older shells is a much younger psyche. In her debut romance, Time and Forever, two women in their sixties inadvertently travel back to London in 1969. Time and Forever was a 2015 Golden Quill finalist for Best First Book and a 2015 RONE finalist for Best Time Travel Book. Maybe This Time, the companion book, came out July 12, 2017.
Susan’s other career is acting. Last year, among other things, she killed Kathy Bates on American Horror Story. This she, among other things, she got stabbed by a pen on Future Man and played the victim on Major Crimes. Karma? Who knows what’s next. The joy is in the journey.
BLURB FOR MAYBE THIS TIME:
Their Happy Ever After is over before it begins unless they can change time. London 2001 Popular stage actress Jennifer Knight just turned forty-nine and she’s fine with her life, thank you very much. Or she was until her beloved niece accidentally time travels them both to 1988 bringing her face to face with her first husband.
Computer guru, Lance Davies is more comfortable with machines than people. He never knew how to handle his beloved, mercurial Jen. But now her future self is here in front of him and he wants another chance. Jen’s traitorous body insists that home is in Lance’s arms, but her heart has trust issues. When Lance follows Jen into the future, time tangles. According to the computer they both died.
Their hope of a future together is over unless her genius brother can help them change time.
EXCERPT FOR MAYBE THIS TIME:
Jen ran to the living room to retrieve the papers Mrs. Flannery was talking about. No way was she going to hang around waiting for He Who Must Not Be Named. The last person she ever wanted to see again was . . .
Jen froze at the sound of that well-loved, well-hated, husky voice. “It’s Jen. And don’t you forget it.” The words sounded far away in her head. “You didn’t knock.”
“I have a key. I’m helping Jeremy with a project he’s working on. He left me some papers. You’re supposed to be swanning it in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in New York. I wouldn’t have stopped by otherwise.”
Jen swayed. Her brain was on overload. Strong hands caught her and turned her around.
“What’s wrong? Are you sick?”
Jen looked into the face of the man she’d adored since she was nine, and actively avoided for the last twenty years. Lance looked almost the same as the day they’d parted. A few more lines framed his hazel eyes, now sea-dark with concern. His brown hair showed no trace of gray. It was still too long, with the same stupid lock falling over his forehead. She automatically reached to brush it back. Stopped herself. Her throat was so dry. Where was a cough drop when you needed one? “You’ve aged well.” Jen’s knees buckled.
Lance kicked out a chair and sat, pulling her into his lap. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, we can fix it.”
His warm, strong hands sent shock waves shivering through her body. She shook her head mutely.
Lance’s voice sharpened. “Is it Jeremy? Kathryn? Has something happened to them?”
“Uncle Lance!” Kathryn stopped in the living room archway, eyes child-solemn. “Why are you hugging Aunty Jen?”
Jen slipped out of Lance’s arms and landed on the floor. Could this get any worse?
“Aunty Jen says you are a stupid head with a big brain and no feelings.”
Jen rose with all the dignity she could muster. “You shouldn’t repeat things grownups say, Kitty-Kat. It’s not polite.” She reached for the packet Mrs. Flannery left behind, willing her hands not to tremble. “Here are the papers, you came for. Nice to see you. Goodbye.”
Lance glanced from Kathryn to Jen. “Where’s Jeremy? I know he and Kitty-Kat went to Sussex. Why is she back without him, and what are you doing here?”
“We couldn’t get home, Uncle Lance. So we came here.” Kathryn scuffed her foot, now shod in a plastic Jelly shoe, against the wood floor. “I thought Jen would like the machine, but I don’t like being young again. My brain is too small. I want to go home.”
Lance’s hand tightened on the papers he held. “Kathryn,” he said carefully. “How old are you?”
“I’m nineteen and I want to go home.”
Lance catapulted out of the chair. “It worked. By all that’s good and beautiful, it worked. I didn’t think he could do it.”
“You knew? You knew what he was working on?”
Lance’s grin changed to the expressionless mask she used to hate so much. “Of course, I knew. I divorced you. Not your brother. I was helping him with the theory. He probably would have told you about it, had you been interested in anyone but yourself and your career.”
Jen resisted the urge to punch him. One of them reverting to childhood was enough. Too bad. Her boxing trainer said she had a fantastic right hook. She kept her tone smooth and even. “I
don’t know when we are, but I turned forty-nine yesterday, Lancelot, and you don’t know half as much about me as you think you do. I am very interested in my niece, and she’s standing there listening to every word we say.”
Lance turned to Kathryn. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. Your aunty and I won’t fight anymore.” He crooked his little finger at Jen the way they used to do when they were children. “Pax?”
Resisting the temptation to break it, Jen hooked her little finger in his. “Pax,”
Kathryn curved her little finger around theirs. “Pax. Now can we get ice cream?”
Lance drove them to Holby’s 1950’s Diner. Kitty-Kat had declared it her favorite place after Jeremy had taken her to see Back to the Future. They ordered Kathryn a hot fudge sundae and sent her off to play Holby’s vast selection of Arcade games.
Lance wrapped his hands around the mug of coffee he’d ordered. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Jen wished she didn’t know Lance so well. He was obviously torn between despising her and the attraction which sparked between them every time they were together. Until the last time.
“Kat said she had a birthday present for me and she took me to Jeremy’s lab, which, by the way, Jeremy never invited me to even though I asked what he was working on. I was quite prepared to show an intelligent interest.”
Lance’s expression said it all.
“Look, I know I’m not a genius, but I’m not stupid. I would have tried if either of you could have ever gotten past your incredibly superior attitudes.”
Lance ignored her perfectly justifiable complaint. “Tell me what happened.”
Deep breaths. That was the key. No use losing her temper. She reached for her inner Zen and held onto it during her factual recounting, right up to the moment she and Kat stepped through the door.
“The street was full of people dressed as though they were going to a costume party. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Men wearing mullets. Possibly the worst haircut ever invented. I turned to make a joke about it to Kat, and child Kathryn was standing next to me.” Jen fought to keep her voice from shaking. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t know what year it is right now, and I have absolutely no idea how to fix this.”
“Calm down.” Lance put his hand over hers and for once he didn’t sound superior. “It’s going to be okay.”
“I don’t see how.” Jen sniffled.
He handed her a handkerchief. “Tell me about the cards. What happened to them?”
“Kathryn’s body shrank, but her clothes didn’t. She pulled up her jeans to look through the pockets, and the card blew into the street under a bus. I tried to get it, but it must have stuck to the bus’s tire.”
Lance’s voice sharpened. “You said there were two cards? What happened to the second one?”
“I don’t know. Maybe she left it in the door when we came through.”
“Here you go, love.” The server wearing a soda jerk’s paper cap set Kathryn’s sundae in front of Jen. Jen automatically dipped her spoon into the fudge sauce.
Lance’s lips curved into a wry smile. “Some things are immutable. I see you love chocolate as much as ever, Guinevere.” He turned to the server. “Bring us another sundae, please.”
“Stop calling me that.” Jen could feel her face growing warm. He shouldn’t have smiled at her. It did funny things to her insides. “Did we really travel back to the 1980s?”
“1988. Thursday, the thirty-first of March, to be precise.”
“By all means. Let us be precise.” Stop looking at him. Concentrate on the chocolate. “April Fool’s Day would have been more appropriate. I wish this were a joke.”
“This year April first is also Good Friday. That’s why Jeremy and Kathryn are in Sussex with your parents. You are in New York.”
Jen shuddered. “This is worse than those horror films you used to drag me to. 1988 of all times. Why would she bring me here?”
“I have no idea. The better question is why would you come?”
“I didn’t know what she was doing!”
People at the next table turned to look at them.
Jen modulated her voice. “She took me into a closet. I thought I was humoring her.”
Kathryn rejoined them when the waiter brought the second sundae. “You were yelling. I could hear you.”
“Your aunt was telling me about your adventure. Can you tell me what you remember?”
“No. My brain feels wrong. Fuzzy.” Kathryn spooned up ice cream with one hand, tapped her head rhythmically with the other.
“Sweetheart,” Lance said. “Do you remember programming where you wanted to go?”
“Yes. Dad showed me how it worked. He took me five years into the future. It was wicked fun being older. I met someone. That’s where I wanted to take Jen. To meet Daniel.” Kathryn hiccoughed back a sob. “The time machine never went backward before. I don’t know what I did wrong.”
“Tell me about the cards.”
“You program where you want to go and the machine gives you cards.”
“What did you do with the second card?”
Kathryn sat up straight. “There were two cards. I remember.” Her forehead wrinkled. “Maybe I dropped one in the little room.”
Jen set her spoon down. “Why don’t we call your father? He can fix it.”
Kathryn’s eyes lit up. “Yes. I want to see my dad.”
Lance took out his wallet and handed Kathryn two one-pound coins. “Go back to the game room and see if you can beat my score at Double Dragon.”
“That means you want to talk without me hearing.” Kathryn spooned up the last of her sundae and slid out of the booth. “Don’t fight. Please.”
Lance watched her go. He took a deep breath, exhaled, and turned back to Jen.
Jen recoiled. “You’ve got that ‘I am a calm space in a moment of disaster’ look in your eyes.”
“Jen, Jeremy will invent the machine, but as of today, it hasn’t been invented. I will . . . we will call Jeremy, but I’m not sure what he can do.”
Jen took a deep breath of her own and held it for a count of ten. She really, really wanted to punch something. “You’re one of the big brain computer men. Can’t you fix it?”
She could feel Lance’s tension. He was waiting for the explosion.
“Do you want a drink?” he asked warily.
“Yes. I would also like a pack of cigarettes and possibly, some weed. But I don’t do those anymore.”
Lance stared at her.
She shrugged. “I wouldn’t say no to a Xanax.”
“Have I been sober? Since the twentieth of May, 1980.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Why? He’d divorced her because he’d assumed she’d deliberately aborted their child. She’d never forgiven him for believing that. She didn’t owe him the truth. “The twelve steps say to make amends where possible.” The old familiar wound sliced her open. “I couldn’t bring the baby back, so what was the point?”
She saw the reflection of her pain in his eyes.
“I never ask Jeremy about you. I didn’t know. I see your name in the papers when you’re doing a play.” His smile cracked. “So how is sober life?”
“Hard, at first. But worth it. You, of course, never succumbed to any temptation.”
“Yes. Yes, I did. I married you.”
BUY LINK FOR MAYBE THIS TIME:
Author: Susan B, James
Category: Contemporary Time Travel
ISBN: ISBN 978-1-68291-407-6
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073DJ2RK4
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR SUSAN B. JAMES:
Writing: www.susanbjames.blogspot.com (for adult books and authors and giveaways) www.thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com (children’s books)
Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/SusanJames/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7791397.Susan_B_James https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3027649.Susan_J_Berger
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Things have been hectic in my life. I have a teenage daughter...I know...enough said. School starts back next week so we are preparing for that. I am in the process of moving to a different department at work, I'm writing three books at the same time, I have responsibilities at Church, I have social engagements, and I'm training for my first 5K. Now individually, that may not seem too bad of a schedule, but when you put them all together, and you factor in the everyday chores of cleaning, laundry, and groceries, it makes your head want to explode. When I get to this point, it's best for everyone if I go off by myself somewhere for awhile. I mentioned earlier that I am training for my first 5K. Most people walk/run at a school track, a park, or around their neighborhood. Not me, I go to the cemetery. A lot of you just cringed at the thought. Admit it. The cemetery in my town is peaceful. It has paved streets. The grass is cut on a regular basis. The fire house is right in front of it. I feel safe there. Probably 85% of the people buried there are family members or family friends. The firemen are within yelling distance if an emergency arises. I enjoy having the time to myself. I have my IPod with me and just relax to some of my favorite songs. As I start to calm down, my mind will often drift. Sometimes, I come up with great story lines. Other times, I'll think of my dad who is buried there. There are times, though when I just end up either laughing like a lunatic or picking up the pace because there are some really strange things that happen in the cemetery and trust me, if anything weird can happen, it will happen to me.
That brings me to the list. The top ten strange, crazy, scary, weird things that have happened while training in the cemetery.
1. The Crows. There are three crows that are there most of the time when I am. I'm telling you, these little buggers are following me. As I go around the paths, they fly from tombstone to tombstone. They squawk at each other, probably plotting my demise. Sometimes they are sitting at the gates when I drive through and then the fun begins.
2. The Bird that Never Moves. On one of the paths, there was this brown bird that was perched on a shepherds hook. From the distance, it looked real. I couldn't figure out why that crazy bird never moved so I ventured off the path to investigate. It was metal and a part of the the shepherds hook. Guess that explains a few things.
3. The Voices from Beyond. There is a grave of a family friend that I pass before going down a slight hill to circle around the back part of the cemetery. The other night a storm was brewing. There was lightning in the distance and thunder. It hadn't started raining yet and I was determined to get in at least a mile. Well, every time I got close to the grave, I would hear muffled voices. I was looking around, but nobody was there. After a couple of times around, I figured out the voices were of the firemen on their patio at the firehouse. I couldn't see them, but it sits on the other side of the hill.
4. Singing. Now this isn't unusual. I sing along with my IPod all the time while there, but this was singing that wasn't me. As I got closer, there was a family in lawnchairs sitting around a tombstone. There were balloons, cake, and the singing of the Happy Birthday song. They were having a birthday party I suppose for the dearly departed.
5. The Face on the Tombstone. There is one grave, well several actually, that have faces of the deceased carved on them. This one in particular is about twenty years old. The face is fading in places and when the sun hits it just right, it becomes a little bit creepy looking. It's sad as I knew the person when they lived, but sometimes I walk a little faster past that particular tombstone.
6. My Dad and my Uncle. As I said, I am related or friends to a good portion of the people buried in the cemetery. My dad and my uncle are both there. There is nothing creepy or funny about this. Instead it's peace and comfort. When I stop to take a break, it's usually in the section where they are buried. I think back of my uncle teaching me to make a proper fist for punching. (Never tuck your thumb inside your fist or you will break it.) I also think of my dad. He was a loving, caring, cantankerous, funny, man. I think back on our life together and smile. The memories make me happy.
7. The Small Buildings. You know those small buildings? Crypts? Am I the only person who imagines somebody just opening the door and walking out? As a result, I am rarely there after the sun sets.
8. Was that a Vampire? As most of you know, I write some paranormal romance. I get some great story ideas, but let a twig snap when you're by yourself and you're immediately looking around for the cause and thinking one of your characters is coming to life.
9. The Lone Harley. One day, I came up on a Harley sitting on the path. There was nobody around, at least that I could see. I was almost upon the guy when I realized he was lying down next to a grave and talking to the tombstone.
10. Who's There? There have been a couple of times now, where I have gotten tired or discouraged while training. I start thinking why bother? You'll never do this, etc... It was bloody hot on one day in particular. Temps in the 90's that felt like the 100's. I was ready to quit before I had even started. It was a weekend and one of my long days where I try for distance, not time. As I'm going down the path with the sun in my eyes and baking me to a crisp, I suddenly got goose flesh, my hair stood up on my neck, and I was freezing from a blast of wind. I know that sounds like a cliche', but Dude, I assure you it happened. Talk about freaking out completely. It's the middle of a sunny afternoon! That particular day was my friends birthday. He died two years ago and had encouraged me to try for the 5K. I had been thinking of him all day. I don't know what that blast of cold was, but it encouraged me to go on. I ended up with the best distance and time for that week as a result.
Until the next time, have a great week!
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Young grew up in the rural countryside of North Florida, and now lives in Central Florida with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys gardening, spying on Sandhill cranes, wandering through antique shops, and adding to her ever-increasing mug and book collection.
She graduated from Southeastern University cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society.
· What made you decide to become a writer?
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she'd sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a "closet" writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn't be happier!
A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children, a puppy named Cannoli and keep busy cooking, watching their children's sporting events, and of course reading!
Blurb for HIGHLAND FAITH:
Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.
Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life on the high seas. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.
Now, Lady Faith and Captain Ross seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of land and sea—and angry Highlanders standing between them.
Sounds rather interesting doesn't it? You can learn more about Madelyn and her books by following her on social media!
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