MuseTracks Guest – Susanne Matthews – Co-Writing

October 17, 2013

MuseTracks welcomes back guest Susanne Matthews. Today, she talks about her experience with collaborating. So without further ado…

Co-writing: Working as Part of a Team

The old adage, two heads are better than one, is alive and well, and easily proven in the world of Misty Matthews. Misty Matthews is the pseudonym for two Canadian authors living almost twelve hundred miles away from one another. This makes chats at the coffee shop impossible, but we are only a click away on the computer or smart phone. We managed to write an entire novel and a short story without ever having met. We didn’t even speak to one another until after we sold our manuscript to Front Porch Romance. People ask how we managed to write a book together under those conditions. The answer is simple. Coming Home, the first book in the Taking a Chance on Love series, is a product of the electronic age.

Chance_Love200x300Misty and I met in an online chat group last December. We were all trying to hone pitches for novels we wanted to submit, and although none of us were successful with that pitch, we decided to continue chatting together and supporting one another. It was one of the group members who encouraged me to pitch Fire Angel to Crimson Romance, and since that day, we have all managed to officially become authors. Some of us now write for Crimson Romance, others for Entranced, a few write for Sweet Cravings, and still others for Front Porch Romance. We are an active and prolific group. We have shared the excitement and disappointments that are part and parcel of an author’s life, and support one another in all we do. Many times, I have been stuck, and one of them has managed to help me over the writer’s block. When I get down on myself, doubting, my abilities, they rally and pull me out of the gloom. I like to think I do the same for them now and again.

Misty has incredible ideas, and one night, in that chat group, she and I decided to collaborate on a book. One of the group members liked Misty Matthews, so that’s how the name was chosen—her first, my last—and that’s how we write, her first, me last.

Misty is the plotter, and I’m a pantser. She plots the story and writes the first draft of a chapter. I’m detail-oriented, so I do any research, add in details, and flesh out the chapter, but when it comes down to it, without Misty’s plotting, there wouldn’t be a story. When I’m finished with a chapter, it goes back to Misty who reads it, makes any changes she feels are necessary—she knows what’s going to happen next; I don’t—and, once the chapter works, we repeat the process until the manuscript is finished. Once it’s all done, we each take a shot at editing before it’s submitted to an editor for possible publication. We basically did the same thing for the cover art.

Misty Matthews

Misty

The Taking a Chance on Love series is Misty’s brainchild. We are in the process of writing the second book in the series and hope to release it in the first half of 2014. Since Misty and I also write individually, we make time for our collective efforts amidst really busy schedules. I love working with Misty. She has made me a better writer, and I hope I’ve done something to help her too.

Coming Home is available from Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Home-Taking-Chance-ebook/dp/B00FJPFR4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1380607010&sr=1-1

Front Porch Romance :

https://www.frontporchromance.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_81&products_id=232&zenid=s2tnakcm9j18us3bmfnuk8b112

ARe

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cominghometakingachanceonlove-1309783-149.html

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/362992

About Coming Home:

Motorcycle riding, high-powered attorney Alana Stewart is a far cry from the shy, teenager who left Chance determined never to look back. Family obligations force her to return to the town that only holds bad memories for her. A stop at her former sanctuary brings an unexpected surprise…the new manager just might be what she needs to get her through the holidays.

Matthews

Susanne

When sexy, leather-clad Alana walks into the bookstore, Connor Tate, has a feeling he may be in for the ride of his life. Despite the fact that their lives are headed in different directions, they are drawn to one another. Connor is determined to prove to Alana that Chance isn’t the place she remembers, but will his efforts fail when she discovers he hasn’t told her the whole truth about himself?

Can they trust each other enough to take a chance on love?

To learn more about Misty Matthews, visit http://mhsusannematthews.ca and click on the link for Misty Matthews.  Like Misty at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Misty-Matthews/526929407395256


MuseTracks Guest – Susanne Matthews – The Importance of Authenticity in Historical Romance

September 18, 2013

MuseTracks welcomes back guest, Susanne Matthews! She’s here to talk about something I enjoy – research and imagination.

The Importance of Authenticity in Historical Romance

On August 27, my third novel, a historical romance, The Captain’s Promise, was released by Front Porch Romance. My prior novels, Fire Angel and In Plain Sight, both romance/suspense, released by Crimson Romance, were contemporary novels—one set in Northern Ontario, the other in Northern New York, in imaginary towns based on real locations with which I was familiar.  The setting for The Captain’s Promise, on the other hand, was seventeenth century France near Brest, and aboard a three-masted sailing vessel—two locations with which I had no experience.

The Captain's Promise CoverFor a historical romance to meet the expectations of its audience, authenticity to the period and the historical data is essential, and believe it or not, a lot of the information you’d consider necessary to verify facts simply doesn’t exist. So, the question is how do you find the facts you need to fit your story? You watch movies, you read other books, and you scour the Internet for whatever information you can find. Like an archeologist, you dig through all the dirt, find the facts and then, extrapolate from them what you need to know. For example, it’s a fact that on his second voyage Columbus carried 34 horses aboard his ship. Now, try finding details as to where they were kept and who cleaned them! I used a little literary license and invented a character in the story, with a Da Vinci-like imagination, who designed certain amenities for the ship. He created a weather deck stable that could be kept clean with sea water and openings on the side of the stable walls to allow the filth to leave the ship. Without his modern ideas, the crossing would have been far too smelly to be romantic.

And that brings up the next point—when does authenticity have to give way to imagination? Over three hundred years ago, clothing was different, daily hygiene was different, and what we consider basic comforts didn’t exist. There was no head on the ship with running water, hot showers, and a flush toilet—no laundry to clean the clothing and bring them back to you fresh and clean. There were basins and ewers, slop buckets, and a beakhead, basically the ship’s latrine that emptied directly into the sea beneath, but someone, most likely the cabin boy, had to empty the grey and black water every day. Being aboard a hot, smelly, crowded, ship wasn’t romantic in the least, but the Black Pearl, from Pirates of the Caribbean didn’t seem that bad. When I visited Jamestown, I saw the replicas of the ships that carried the settlers to Chesapeake Bay, and at Plymouth I visited a mock-up of the Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to Massachusetts. There was nothing romantic about either of them, but consider a converted warship—lots of space—it was possible. I saw the Vasa in Stockholm, and that’s where I got the idea for the recessed area that could serve as a veranda. Today, staterooms with personal decks are common aboard modern ships.

Romance flourishes quickly when danger is involved and, since I am a suspense writer, I needed a mystery to solve. The birth of the Merchant marine in that period is a reality as is the French West-Indies Company’s monopoly on trade with the colonies. When people lose vast sums of money, there is always an opportunity for subterfuge! Dueling was indeed illegal and punishable by death in France. I tried to relay the importance of a sextant and proper charts so that a reader would understand the danger a ship could face lost at sea. Finally, living in Canada as I do, I think the choice of settling on Martinique in spite of the dragons and serpents would appeal to me.

So, now you have a glimpse of some of the research that went into The Captain’s Promise. You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the need to teach out of the teacher.

The Captain’s Promise is available at https://www.frontporchromance.com/

And other major e-book retailers

About the Book:

Etienne Blouin left Danielle de Cherbourg in tears, promising to return; he didn’t. Ten years later, Etienne learns she’s been widowed and left almost penniless. Now a wealthy ship’s captain, he offers to help her, but the only reply he gets is from her aunt telling him to leave Danielle alone. Convinced she’s in trouble, he determines to rescue her whether she likes it or not, even if it means losing her love.

Danielle is shocked to learn that her companion is going to the colonies, while she is to marry a cruel and powerful man as repayment of her husband’s gambling debts.  Despondent, she sees no way out of the horrendous situation. When her carriage is waylaid and she’s kidnapped, she fears the worse.

 Etienne has enemies who don’t want La Belle Rose to make port. Can he outfox them to save his ship and the woman he loves?

Susanne MatthewsAbout the Author:

Susanne Matthews grew up as an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, she has made her dreams come true. A retired educator, she now gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Susanne lives in Cornwall, Ontario with her husband. She has three adult children and five grandchildren. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, chatting on the Internet with her writer friends, and hearing from her readers. You can learn more about Susanne and buy her e-books at http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca

 

 


MuseTracks Guest – Susanne Matthews – How Can You Do That? – Giveaway

August 16, 2013

MuseTracks welcomes back the prolific, witty, and intelligent (I’d bet she’s blushes about now) Susanne Matthews. She has a new release, a romantic suspense, IN PLAIN SIGHT coming August 12, 2013 from Crimson Romance. To celebrate, she giving away an e-book copy to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Please welcome, Susanne.

How Can You Do That?

I’ve sold five books to date—five books that I’ve written in the past twelve month period, and I have four others on the go. People keep asking “how can you do that?” Frankly, if you’d told me at this time last year that I’d do what I’ve done, I’d have said never! Not in a million years! In the words of James Bond, “Never say never.”

Why should it seem so surprising to me that I’ve managed this incredible feat? The ideas have been in my head for years, and I’m finally getting them down on paper. The truth is I spend between ten and twelve hours a day, six days a week, at the computer working on my craft, and I enjoy every single minute of it. It’s my full-time job, and if the dust bunnies threaten to take over the house, then, maybe I’ll take a day off to clean. Writing consumes me, but I haven’t neglected any of my other responsibilities—dinner might be late, but you’ll still get to eat.

In Plain Sight coverWhen I sit at the computer to start my day, I enter a new world, one where the entire minutia of everyday life no longer exists. It’s a world I’ve created filled with people who are old friends, and whose actions and reactions never cease to amaze me. These people have lives that are as complex as I wish them to be, but in my worlds, good always triumphs over evil, and when I insert that final period, all is well with my world.

So where do the ideas get their start? I’d like to say that all of my ideas are born in my imagination, but the truth is, most of them come out of the everyday world we live in. The news is my first source of inspiration. Since I seem to be settling into the romantic suspense sub-genre, the news is full of interesting crimes. Unsolved arson cases provided the initial idea for my first novel, Fire Angel, and blood feuds and the mob provided the nascent idea for In Plain Sight. An article of psychosomatic illnesses completed the initial theme for that book.

The hardest part of writing each story is making the plot and the characters unique. The reader needs to be transported into a believable story, one where the characters are instantly attracted to one another, but have to surmount personal and external obstacles to get to the happy ending. Research is exhaustive so that the reading experience isn’t contrived. If I want a building to burn in such a way that no one immediately suspects arson, then I have to find a way to make that happen.  I had people ask me if Alexis and Jake, the characters in Fire Angel, would appear in another book. I toyed with the idea, and I’m pleased to say, they have a cameo appearance in In Plain Sight, that is crucial to the unraveling of the plot. Sometimes, you just need an expert to help you along the way.

About In Plain Sight

In life, you pay a price for everything you do. Widowed, her dream of starring on Broadway in ashes at her feet, Misty Starr yearns for a happy, healthy, normal life for herself and her four-year-old daughter, Debbie. Settled in Pine Falls, NY, a sleepy little town filled with friendly people, she believes she’s found it and feels safe enough to sing in an amateur theater revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. She’ll do anything to keep this life even if it is built on lies, because revealing her secret is impossible. When Nick Anthony joins the cast as music director, Misty is attracted to the man who stirs up feelings she thought long dead, but can love grow on a bed of deceit?

A former concert pianist and secret CIA courier, Nick lives in darkness ever since the accident that killed his wife. The doctors say there’s nothing wrong with his vision, so why can’t he see? Hiding from his former life, he reluctantly agrees to help with the musical and is drawn to the young singer with the voice of an angel. When a mysterious fire destroys her home, Nick vows to keep her and her daughter safe. After one suspicious event leads to another, Nick is determined to protect them from an unknown assassin, but in order to do that, he needs to know her secrets. With his money and connections, he’ll do whatever it takes to save the woman he loves, but does she love him enough to reveal the truth?

About the Author

Susanne Matthews

Susanne Matthews grew up as an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, she has made her dreams come true. A retired educator, she now gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Susanne lives in Cornwall, Ontario with her husband. She has three adult children and five grandchildren. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, chatting on the Internet with her writer friends, and hearing from her readers. You can learn more about Susanne and buy the e-book at http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca

Don’t forget to leave a comment. You could win a digital copy of IN PLAIN SIGHT.


MuseTracks Guest – Susanne Matthews – A Dream Come True – Giveaway!

May 3, 2013

Romantic Suspense author Susanne Matthews joins MuseTracks today to talk about dreams and her debut release FIRE ANGEL. How exciting! Please help us welcome and congratulate her. Comment and you could win an e-copy of  Fire Angel!

Take it away, Susanne.

Blog: A Dream Come True

LOCAL AUTHOR PUBLISHES ROMANCE! All of us who aspire to be published authors dream of seeing such a headline on the entertainment page of our local newspapers.

Have you ever tried to imagine how you would feel if that were the headline in your local paper and you were the author?

For years I said that someday I would write a book and have it published, but deep in my heart, I’m not sure I ever believed it would really happen. It’s like saying I’m going to win the lottery, but how many really do? Now that Fire Angel has been released, I’m stunned. I did it! I thought I would be proud and excited, and while those emotions are certainly present, there is also awe and fear. It’s real now, not a dream, and it scares me to death. Where do I go from here?

Fire Angel coverWhat awes me is the thought that out of all of the wonderful manuscripts out there submitted to editors every day, Jennifer Lawler, the publishing editor at Crimson Romance chose mine. The feeling is akin to giving birth to a child and looking at that tiny life and saying, “Did I do that?” You know you’re not the only person to ever accomplish such a thing, but what you have created is yours, unlike any other, and you’re amazed. The love and pride are overwhelming, but there’s that unbelievable “wow” factor that has to be acknowledged, as well as the fear of letting it go.

From the moment the idea came to me, I hoped that Fire Angel would be a winner. When Jennifer requested a full from the Twitter pitch, I was excited, but I expected a rejection – it was the first time that I had ever submitted it to a publisher – no one sells the first time, right? And I didn’t! I got a revise and resubmit letter, with directions as to what revisions were needed. I did as she asked and three weeks later, I signed a contract for the book. Amazing!

An avid reader, I’m a ‘happily ever after’ junkie, but one who thrives on characters overcoming personal adversity as well as defeating an antagonist with good always coming out on top. I’m not a fan of reality television; there is more than enough reality for me in the nightly news. There is a lot of ugliness in our world, and whether we like it or not, in real life, the good guy doesn’t always win.

As an author, I can create a story based on the ugliness out there, but suspend to allow the romance and ‘happily ever after’ of fairy tales to occur. Fire Angel is my creation, my attempt to take the reality out there and turn it into something I hope you will enjoy. Where do I go from here? Only my muse knows for sure; in the meantime, I’ll keep following where she leads me and hope to repeat my success.

About Fire Angel

A malicious serial killer is out for revenge, and he doesn’t care how many people have to die before he gets it. Using fire as a weapon, he strikes at random, and the bodies are piling up, leaving the citizens of Paradise wondering who is next.

Betrayed by the one closest to him, criminal profiler Jake McKenzie has returned from Afghanistan minus a leg and afraid to trust his instincts. When the police chief asks for his expertise in identifying the killer, he agrees knowing this is his chance to prove he can still do the job.

Sixteen years ago, fiercely independent Alexis Michaels escaped an abusive uncle and a deadly fire, to become one of the country’s top fire and arson investigators.  She reluctantly accepts the assignment and returns home to lead the hunt for the killer, knowing she will have to confront the memories she has repressed all these years. Her uncanny ability to put herself in the arsonist’s place is the skill they need to find this maniac. 

When Jake discovers that his new partner is the girl who has haunted his dreams all these years, he finds himself enthralled, but memories of his dead wife make him doubt his emotions. Alexis has few pleasant memories of Paradise, but Jake is one of them. Undeniably drawn to him, she longs for a deeper relationship, but won’t compete with a ghost.

Until they catch the killer, they must set aside their conflicted emotions and work together. The clock is ticking, and the killer has made it clear: Alexis is next. 

Excerpt from Fire Angel

Somewhat stung by his disbelieving tone, Alexis pushed away from him and stood.

“That’s the reason I’m here, isn’t it? Because I can do what no one else can?”

The pleasant feeling that had existed between them vanished. He wasn’t the first to be doubtful of her abilities. Why was it that people always mistrusted what they didn’t understand?

Jake stood and called Maya to follow him.

“You’re right; I don’t know enough about what you do to be skeptical. It’s late and it’s been a long day for both of us. Since you’re hell-bent on being independent, I’ll meet you at the station in the morning. You have GPS in your car; set the address; it’s not hard to find. We can show your note to the chief and have it tested while you look at the evidence.”

She stood to walk him to the door. Before she could hand him his jacket, he put out his hand to stop her.

“Alexis, don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad we have this opportunity to reconnect, but I have to ask—why are you here? Why did you take this case? The more I think about this maniac, the more I realize what danger you were in on the highway with that monster out there with you, and I don’t mean the moose. Even this cabin might have been a bad choice.”

He reached for her and held her shoulders, forcing her to look up at him. “When you left, I was angry at your uncle because he wouldn’t look for you. I’ve searched on and off for years. I’m good at my job, but Alexis Pruett had vanished. You obliterated all traces of yourself. Some of us cared about you, and you hung us all out to dry.” He let go of her and ran his hands through his hair, something he seemed to do when he was frustrated or confused.

“I need to know; why now? Until today, I didn’t even know that you were still alive! It was my idea to send for you, based on the article in the paper about the way you brought the mob to its knees, but if I’d known it was you, I’m not sure what I would have done. I know that you’re good at your job, but surely there are others who are equally skilled. You do realize that he still lives in town?”

Alexis stood away from him and raised her chin defiantly. This was why she chose to stay alone. Men! Why did they assume they knew everything? That they could fix everything? He had no right to question her. She’d done what she’d done to survive!

As far as the job went, he’d asked for the best and that’s what he’d gotten. That hair-trigger anger of hers, the one she tried so hard to keep under control, flared. She glared at him, her hands on her hips, so incensed that she trembled in her fury.

About the AuthorSusanne Matthews

Susanne Matthews grew up as an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she traveled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, she has made her dreams come true. A retired educator, she now gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Susanne lives in Cornwall, Ontario with her husband. She has three adult children and five grandchildren. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, chatting on the Internet with her writer friends, and hearing from her readers. You can learn more about Susanne and buy the e-book at www.mhsusannematthews.ca

Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-copy of FIRE ANGEL!

The randomly chosen winner of FIRE ANGEL is Debbie! Congrats, Debbie. Susanne will be in touch.

Thanks for sharing your experience and your debut book release with us, Susanne. Congratulations and may you find success!