Tuesday, May 26, 2015


My award-winning science fiction romance, JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD, had a bit of an unusual start. I’d always wanted to write in that genre, but at the time, I was busy with Regencies, paranormals, and mysteries. My current project was THE MAGIC TOKEN, a Regency, and I was at the library doing research. I honestly don’t remember what triggered it, but in the middle of looking for books on the English countryside, the phrase JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD popped up in my mind. I stopped what I was doing, pondered those words, and then wrote them down in my notepad. “What a cool title! I thought. The rest, as they say, is history!

After I finished THE MAGIC TOKEN, I began brainstorming, and then researching for JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD. Janus, the two-headed Roman god had to play a part in the novel and, since this was to be a science fiction, I needed a setting, preferably in the future. A clash of cultures soon followed with the heroine, Sophia, from the backwaters planet Earth butting heads with one of the leaders of the Galactic Core Coalition, JorVaal 5 Lanquist.

Seeking a cure for her ill brother, Sophia McLaren must leave Earth to journey into the unknown to Xaspaar, in the center of the Milk Way Galaxy. She finds dangerous intrigue... plus a love transcending the vast expanse of space. But can she persuade JorVaal 5 that love can be forever?
JorVaal 5 Lanquist has a galactic catastrophe on his hands¾plus a headstrong female from the despised planet Earth. Will he be able to set aside age-old prejudices and admit he’s actually feeling an ancient emotion called love?

As I previously wrote for my Author Notes on ALIEN HEAT, world-building in science fiction stories can be very difficult. And for JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD, I had some heavy duty research ahead of me. The planet Xaspaar, in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, is a distance of over 30,000 light years from Earth. With today’s technology, by the time a spaceship arrives, roughly three million years would have passed. Obviously this is not an option! To keep the science in science fiction, an author must follow the natural laws of the universe in order for the novel to be believable. So I used wormholes or black holes--tunnels in space with gravitational fields so intense that nothing can escape, not even light--as a plausible method to cut through the stellar highway. I bought two of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking’s works to help me with these concepts. Not easy reading!

What happens when the Human leader at Milky Way’s core must deal with a headstrong female from the despised planet Earth?

JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD has had a home from the beginning at Awe-Struck Books (Mundania Press) where it won the prestigious Preditor’s and Editor’s Award for Best Science Fiction.

Also, my novel was selected as a finalist in the prestigious EPIC Awards (now EPIC eBook Award) for Best Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction Romance.

In addition, JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD was a Golden Rose Award Finalist for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy, on the #1 Best-Seller list for Fictionwise.com, and earned the highest review rating from the Romantic Times Magazine.

Here’s a snippet from real life. As Sophia does, I used to wear a Yankees’ baseball cap as a kid. For awhile, the Bronx Bombers’ hat was rarely off my head. Sophia has another reason for wearing her cap. The first section, below, is where Sophia learns from Fredd, a genetically altered Human, that long hair is forbidden on planet Xaspaar. The second section shows how she tries to hide her long hair. The third section reveals that the jig is up!

Fredd turned back to the console. “As you wish, lass. We have fifteen of yer Terran days remaining to the trip so I suggest you study the viewer to learn the ways of Core civilization. It will go easier on you if you do.”

“Yes, thank you, Fredd. That’s a great idea.”

“You might find some of the information disagreeable. Fer example, you must cut the flowing cascade of yer rich, dark hair.”

“I must?” Sophia fingered a lock and curled it around her finger. “And why is that?” At times Fredd spoke so poetically.

“No one, male or female, wears hair below the base of the neck on Xaspaar. Long hair represents the barbarous past -- a symbol of more sensuous, less disciplined times. If you refuse to cut yer hair, once we land, you must expect confinement with other criminal violators.”

Oh great, she was a criminal now? And over what, the length of her hair? Incredible.

Fredd spread his hands. “My regrets, Sophia.”

“Don’t worry about it. Maybe I’ll just stay inside the ship.”

She furiously cleaned out the water bottle and slammed it down. Just what kind of society equated someone’s hairdo with theft or murder? Or perhaps those activities were tolerated?

“Well, it seems I have a great deal of viewing to do. See you later, Fredd.”

Sophia stood and smoothed down the stiff fabric of her cabin suit. She was comfortably warm, but for her neck. Newly bare, her skin produced goose bumps in the cool pressurized air.

She fingered a wisp of hair coiled by her ear. No, she hadn’t cut it, certainly not! Instead, her long, barbarous hair was neatly wound into a bun atop her head. Also, to further hide the offending tresses, she’d pulled on a Yankees’ sports cap. Maybe not très chic, but it would have to do. Imagine having a law against long hair! Still, a law was a law, and she couldn’t stay inside the ship as she’d quipped earlier. Plus, she wouldn’t be much help to Mart from inside a GCC jail.


JorVaal pulled her away, which caused Sophia to lose her balance and stumble on the jagged rock. When the brim of her Yankees’ cap hit the stone, it flew off her head, landing at her feet.

JorVaal reached down to fetch it. “My apologies, Sophia, for this mishap. You are so slight, I miscalculated the force...”

His gaze met hers. For one long second, she was suspended in time -- lost in his magnetic presence.

JorVaal’s brows then lowered, meeting at the bridge of his hawk sharp nose. Extreme displeasure radiated from him.

She dusted the seat of her pants. Why was he annoyed? She was the one who fell. Shaking her head, she stopped short. A long tendril of hair had escaped from her makeshift bun.

Oh, good heavens! He knows. I hope this doesn’t mean I have to cut my hair.


Also available is JANUS IS A TWO-FACED MOON--taking place six years later and follows a different couple, Blade and Christopher--however Sophia and JorVaal do play a role.

I hope you enjoy Sophia and JorVaal’s story.

Happy reading,

Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


My popular time-travel Regency romance, HAVE CHRISTMAS CARD... WILL TRAVEL first started as a serial novel. The publisher envisioned twelve chapters total, posting one chapter online per week for subscribers to their service. Since twelve chapters were required, I came up with the idea of using the song: the Twelve Days of Christmas, and then focused each chapter on a stanza of the song. Thus, the first chapter, including the setup, dealt with a partridge in a pear tree. The title of my book was rather bland: THE 12 DAYS OF REGENCY CHRISTMAS.

Artist’s rendering of a possible cover

Unfortunately, the publisher went out of business before the first installment could be uploaded. Fortunately, Uncial Press picked up this novel with only a few alterations. The repetitions that occurred at the beginning of each chapter (to refresh the reader’s memory) were no longer needed, AND, the book needed a catchier title.

Hmmn. What to pick? I had a difficult time with this one. Nothing seemed to fit, so I reviewed what the plot was about: each day, a contemporary young woman, Meredith, receives a Christmas card featuring one of the stanzas of the beloved song. Each night, she wakes up in the past in Regency England. Each morning she wakes up back in her own bed in the present. Voilà! The title was born: HAVE CHRISTMAS CARD... WILL TRAVEL.

Those of you who remember vintage television will recognize the homage to CBS’ wildly popular Western: Have Gun--Will Travel.

Christmas magic sends Meredith back to Regency times to find true love. But what will happen when the twelve days of Christmas are over?

HAVE CHRISTMAS CARD... WILL TRAVEL is a wonderfully whimsical time travel story that’s perfect for the holidays or any time of the year! This book has been a best-seller at Uncial Press and Fictionwise.com. Also, my novel was an EPPIE Finalist for Best Historical Romance.

For those of you who enjoy reading about real life tidbits woven into my novels, here’s something from HAVE CHRISTMAS CARD... WILL TRAVEL. In this novel, although Meredith believes her Regency experiences are only dreams, she goes along with becoming engaged to one of the Larson brothers, William. After a few nights, she realizes she prefers his older brother, Jeffrey. Way back when, I dated a fellow who had an identical twin. Turns out, when I met the brother, I had more in common with him than my date! Below is a short passage from the Six Geese A-Laying chapter of the book. Meredith has just awakened in the morning.

Today, Meredith was so excited, surely she would burst. Last night Jeffrey had kissed her. Just a brief kiss, true, but she’d felt as if her soul was on fire. Was his taste still on her lips?
Running the tip of her tongue over her mouth, she came away disappointed. Oh well, there was always tonight.
She closed her eyes to relive the moment, then quickly blinked them open again. But she was engaged to William. She should’ve been daydreaming about kissing him, not his brother!

“5 stars! I loved this book! It was a cute little love story with a Christmas bow tied around it. It was a quick read and I didn't want the story to end.”

I hope you enjoy Meredith and Jeffrey’s story, too! 

Happy reading,

Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!

Monday, May 11, 2015


Since I write in quite a few different genres, I alternate between those genres so fans for that particular genre can look forward to a new book. When I was due to write a romantic suspense, I started thinking about this particular book. First, I had to think of a topic. I wanted to write a paranormal about ghosts this time because many readers love ghost stories like my popular paranormal romantic suspense GRAVE FUTURE.

Now I was ready to begin. I like to come up with a title before I start writing. Sometimes that’s impossible, but usually I’m able to think of one that suits the project. To think of a title, I brainstorm, writing down whatever comes to mind. THE WAKEFIELD DISTURBANCE just wormed its way in. I have no idea why Wakefield, because that is the name of a location or also, a last name. Now I had a last name for one of my characters, but which one?

Setting that thought aside for awhile, I deliberated about what kind of a Disturbance could be called The Wakefield Disturbance. I came up with the idea of the heroine having a psychic ability that causes a shimmer around her when she receives communication from the dead. Her last name would be Wakefield. Now I had a heroine, Lara, who can hear messages from the dead. From there I built the story and the hero, private investigator Stuart Manning, around Lara’s needs. That’s about it in a nutshell!

Lara Wakefield receives messages from the dead. Her latest “client” is a murdered young girl who wants to be put to rest. The girl’s killer, however, objects. Can Lara find the girl’s body without becoming the next victim?

Private investigator Stuart Manning wants nothing to do with supernatural phenomena. A retainer of $50,000 overcomes his reluctance. Lara’s innate ability, integrity, and beauty cause him to have second thoughts about psychics, while deadly occurrences cause him to believe the little girl’s murderer is still hanging around. How can Stuart protect Lara when the killer is always one step ahead?

Communicating with the Dead: a gift or a curse??

THE WAKEFIELD DISTURBANCE has been with Uncial Press since the beginning where it has been on the best-seller list and also a #1 best-seller at Fictionwise.com. The book video trailer has received a “Spine-tingling!” recommendation from The SavvyClick.com. In addition, this book is a 2008 Dream Realm Finalist for Best Speculative Fiction Romance.

Psychic Lara Wakefield is tasked by a murdered young girl to find her killer.

A Real Life Tidbit. The locale of the murdered girl’s summer home is based on a popular resort in Montana. This resort also has a petting zoo. Below is a photo of the llama that was the inspiration for an important part of THE WAKEFIELD DISTURBANCE’s mystery. In the book, you’ll find resting on the grass can be very relaxing... or can serve another purpose!

Here’s a passage from THE WAKEFIELD DISTURBANCE that features the llama. Scene Setup: A member of the houseparty has just been found murdered. Lara and her young friend Chrissy take a break from the investigation to lunch outside.

Unseasonably warm sun beat down on Lara's shoulders. Mmmm, she couldn't help but enjoy it. Good thing she and Chrissy had decided to leave the unhealthy atmosphere of the mansion for awhile. Taking a picnic lunch by the petting zoo was an excellent idea.
Sitting on the grass, Lara munched on a sandwich and watched her young friend propped against the fence as she fed the animals. The family of ducks swam to the pond's edge to furiously peck at the bits of food Chrissy threw to them. The three mountain goats moseyed over to graze on animal crackers. Only the llama remained where it was, still resting under the shade of a birch tree.
"Why won't she come over and eat?" Chrissy grumbled. "I want to pet her."
"You're grubby from petting the goats. Maybe the llama wants clean hands," Lara joked. Despite the morning's horrible experience, she actually was having fun, and was glad Chrissy was, too.
Instead of being scared or disgusted by the news of the murder, the girl had been delighted. Her own murder mystery to solve, she had said.
Lara shook her head. Shades of Agatha Christie! What a gruesome reaction.
But she couldn't think about that. It was so peaceful outside, under the wide open sky. The only sounds she could hear were the nibbling of the ducks and the gentle breeze rustling through the trees.
And Chrissy's complaints.
"The llama must be hungry. She hasn't been fed yet. That's what the older lady told me--Rose, Tawnie's mother. So why doesn't the darn beast come here?"
The llama couldn't have been too hungry for it sat with all four legs folded under it, showing no intention of getting up.
Chrissy stomped over to Lara and pouted. "She looks at me but doesn't move!"
"Maybe it wants room-service," Lara offered.
"Maybe you should climb over the fence and bring the food to the llama."
"Cool beans!" The girl rushed to the post-and-lintel fence, then paused. "D'you think I'm allowed to go in?"
"I don't see why not. Just keep your hands away from the llama's mouth, okay?"
"Sure." Chrissy hopped over the fence and slowly walked the distance to the animal. It watched her progress, but didn't budge. Only when Chrissy placed some crackers in front of it, did it bend its wooly neck and chew on the treat.
Another satisfied customer!

To find out more, read The Wakefield Disturbance! I hope you enjoy Lara and Stuart’s story.

Happy reading,

Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!

Monday, May 4, 2015


My popular Regency romance, THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD, first started as a writing exercise. Back in the last century (!) I belonged to a writers group--published authors and earnest beginners included. One of the writing exercises assigned was a phrase, sort of like a “What if” situation, to jumpstart the imagination. Since it was so long ago, I don’t remember what the exact phrase was except that it had something to do with something being thrown. What it was, the setting, story genre, and circumstances were all up to the writer.

It didn’t take long for me to come up with an idea. Set in Regency times, the short paragraph I wrote was about an impoverished young miss who flung a pouch filled with guineas back at the toplofty lord who had thrown it at her. He’d wanted her to remove herself and her aunt from his newly acquired lodgings. The coins were thrown to reimburse her for her trouble. The affronted young lady, Katrina Jones, stood her ground.


Impoverished Katrina Jones is determined to earn a living by pursuing a career. Her landlord, the Earl of Udall, has other ideas for her. Can she set aside her fears about marriage and learn that trust goes hand in hand with love?


Quentin Thornhill, the Earl of Udall, is used to having his own way. When the delightful Katrina inadvertently thwarts his plans to install his latest mistress at his newly-won lodging, he begins to realize that not all females are as devious as the women he has known. Can he overcome his cynicism and give his heart to this young and innocent silhouettist?

Artist’s concept cover

THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD has had a home from the beginning at Wings ePress where it’s been on the publisher’s best-seller list. This novel has also been on the Fictionwise.com’s best-seller list and has earned multiple 5 star reviews on Goodreads.

Lord Udall plans to install his mistress at his newly won lodging, but impoverished Katrina wants to live there instead. Who will be the victor?

Another THE RELUCANT LANDLORD fun fact is that the characters of Katrina and Quentin make a brief appearance in another Regency at Wings ePress--A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE. It was so cool revisiting their personalities, along with a few of the other folks in the book!

One of my favorite bits and pieces from real life is that in THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD, the character of young Freddy likes to insist he's Arthur, the Duke of Wellington, a hero from the Napoleonic Wars. I can thank a child from my daughter's pre-school for this. Out of the blue, a little boy walked over to me and with a serious face, told me he was Batman! Below, we find Constance, Quentin’s mother and Freddy’s grandmother, reminiscing:

Retrieving her hanky from behind her back, Constance blotted at the moisture seeping from her eyes. "Freddy’s current hero is Wellesley, you know. The dear boy corrects me if I call him Freddy. ‘I’m Viscount Wellington, Grandmama,’ he says. ‘I fight that nasty Bonaparte.’ Lord, Freddy reminds me so much of his father Robert."

Also, Katrina has an unusual hair color. At one time I did also: blonde and brown. Here’s a passage soon after Quentin has his first run-in with Katrina.

Miss Jones’ hair was a most strange color combination: sun-ripened maize--almost white in its intensity, yet streaked by coppery brown. Most unusual. Yet he was certain he had seen this mixture before. But where? And why was he waxing poetic over a thing as mundane as a woman’s hair?

THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD starts with a very dark hero who has been deceived by the important women in his life. The impoverished heroine changes his mind about females and about love. His transformation from cynic to lover is an interesting journey, and at the end, the “villainess” comments: “You have become too...domesticated...for my tastes.” There’s also a surprise twist to a secondary character that even I didn’t know would happen when I was writing the story! If you love Regency romance, this book’s for you! I hope you enjoy Katrina and Quentin’s story.

Happy reading,

Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!