Monday, October 26, 2015

Author Notes on “True Love And Candy Cane”

Witches, ghosts, and hobgoblins... Halloween is a perfect time of year to enjoy yourself. Chills, thrills, and spills (of candy!) are the order of the day. And while I’ve given up dressing in costume for this special day, I do have fun giving out plenty of the sugary stuff when visitors knock on my door. The best “sugary” pleasure out there is reading a Halloween tale.

Naturally, I had to write one to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. Get ready for another very short scoop on newly-released “True Love And Candy Corn”. The word count is over 3,200 words, and Amazon estimates the book length to be nineteen pages. It sells for 99 cents.

Short Story Alert: As with all of my *very* short stories, I’d like to reduce the amount, however 99 cents is the lowest I’m allowed to go on Amazon and Smashwords. Again, periodically Smashwords holds a sale, and I can set the price to free at that time, so do check on the link every now and then.

To continue, “True Love And Candy Corn”, a contemporary fantasy tale, is my homage to two childhood pleasures: trick- or-treating and Halloween candies. I didn’t have a publisher in mind when I wrote this, so eventually I included it in my anthology LUCKY 13. LUCKY 13 is no longer available electronically, but still available in print from my website.

Thirteen delightful stories for your reading pleasure by Susanne Marie Knight

On a Halloween outing, thirteen-year-old Rebecca knocks on a “witch’s” door. As her treat, she is cursed with true love until the end of time, and even though desirable Frank Palmer seems to be the love object in question, Rebecca is thoroughly spooked. Now, nine years later, Rebecca is treat-or-treating again as she escorts her young cousins on their rounds. When she comes face to face with Frank, she doesn’t see true love as a curse anymore. Will the witch’s prophecy come true?

Now I have re-released it electronically as a single!

Artist’s concept cover

Can trick or treating promise true love to a thirteen-year-old girl?

This short story is part of the Romantic Contemporaries line.

Real life tidbit: To get a feel for the characters in “True Love And Candy Corn”, I drew upon treat-or-treating experiences back in the old days... well, in the sixties, anyway. This short story includes the fear of my younger self that my grownup lipstick would mysteriously disappear, includes the frantic rush to ring as many doorbells as possible, and also incorporates the dark, dank atmosphere of city apartment buildings.

Scene set up: Young Rebecca, nicknamed Becky, is dressed as a witch and her friend Valerie is a vampire.

Halloween was a little different in the city as compared with her hometown. Instead of walking outside to individual houses for candy loot, they traveled indoors in apartment buildings with lots of doors to knock on. It wasn’t long before their sacks were heavy with booty. But the evening couldn’t be complete until they headed to Frank Palmer’s place. When they entered the building’s stately foyer, Rebecca got a bad case of the jitters.
“How’s my lipstick? Is it still on?”
“Honestly, Becky, your lips are as red as... blood!” Valerie covered the bottom half of her face with her black cape and made a smacking sound.

So, if you love candy corn but worry about the sugar, try this zero calorie treat on Halloween night, but be sure to reward your trick-or-treaters... just in case a real “witch” is on the other side of your door! Just joking!

I hope you enjoy Rebecca and Frank’s story.

Happy reading,

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

Monday, October 19, 2015


THE YULETIDE YORKSHIRE is case number Five in my popular Minx Tobin Murder Mystery Series. For those of you not familiar with this series, click on the link for my Author Notes on THE BLOODSTAINED BISTRO, case number one, my Author Notes on THE ILL-GOTTEN INSURANCE, case number two, and my Author Notes on THE DUPLICITOUS DIVORCE, case number three, and my Author Notes on THE VIRTUAL VALENTINE, case number four.

Minx is a fitness instructor newly relocated to Los Angeles, California, who has a knack for solving puzzles--puzzles concerning dead bodies. For fun, romance, and... unexpected corpses, follow her adventures in this murder mystery series!

The fifth case in the Minx Tobin Murder Mystery Series takes place during Christmas. Yuletide and a darling Yorkshire play important roles in this novel. Naturally, the doggie’s name had to be Yo-Yo, the yuletide Yorkshire! :))

HO, HO, HO... OH!
Home for the holidays, Minx Tobin introduces her parents to her homicide lieutenant, Gabe Harris. Unfortunately for her, her ex-fiancĂ© Jared drops in on them, creating friction. But Jared soon needs Minx’s help in the sleuthing department because a gruesome “present” is found under the tree. Once again, Minx is hot on the trail of a desperate killer.

All Gabe wants to do is propose to the woman he loves. Instead, he has to deal with a cast of East Coast characters, including an unexpected murder. Why do dead bodies always seem follow Minx Tobin??

Artist’s rendering of a possible cover

Desert Breeze Publishing has published all six (to date) Minx Tobin novels. THE YULETIDE YORKSHIRE has received great reviews including FIVE Stars from Goodreads and 4.5 Stars from Sensual Reads! All books are available both electronically and in print.

Minx finds something unexpected under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something left by Santa. Ebook and Print

 Here is a book trailer for THE YULETIDE YORKSHIRE:

This book is part of the Intriguing Mysteries line.

Real life tidbit: Just look at this adorable puppy!! Wouldn’t you want to see him as a holiday gift?

Well, the truth of it is, I’m a cat person, so my tastes run more to Siamese kitties. Here’s a picture of my beloved little guy who is now in kitty heaven.

Christmas isn’t the same without him running around under the tree, tearing with all the wrappings and making mischief. Fortunately, I now have a grandkitty who upholds this madcap tradition!


Of course, I’m partial (!) but isn’t he the sweetest little kitty?

Scene Setup: Minx lets Yo-Yo out in the snowy backyard, but now he scratches to get back inside... soon to cause havoc in Minx’s parents’ house!

Minx heard a scratching at the back door. “That must be Yo-Yo. I’ll let him in.” She walked over to the kitchen door, then opened it an inch.
The dog dashed through the opening like a shot from a gun. He disappeared into the living room.
Walking back into the living room, she asked, “Where’s Yo-Yo?”
Gabe munched on a cookie. “The dog flew out of the kitchen then dove under the tree.”
“Stupid dog,” her brother Eddie muttered.
Invisible, Yo-Yo softly whimpered. A mound of boxes shook with the dog’s movements.
Minx got to her knees and methodically moved aside presents to get to the terrier. “It’s okay, Yo-Yo. Come on out. You must be frozen, you poor thing.”
“All this fuss for a dog,” Eddie continued to mutter from the lounger.
Still hidden, Yo-Yo persisted in his whining. Biting her lip, Minx glanced at Gabe. Worry pierced her heart. What if the dear little guy had gotten hurt?
Finally she spotted Yo-Yo’s golden tan coat, then his dark, button eyes. “Here, baby. Come to me.”
She lifted the dog from the masses of presents, then although he was icy, hugged him to her chest and tried to warm him.
Gabe leaned forward in his chair. A thoughtful expression entered his cool blue eyes. “He’s got something in his mouth. Something gold.”
Did Yo-Yo have another Christmas gift for her?
Eddie made a move toward the dog. “Yeah, it’s shiny. Lemme get it out of his--”
Yo-Yo snarled at him.
“What’s gotten into Yo-Yo?” Minx adjusted the dog’s position so she had a better view of his face. A wide gold hoop extended out from his mouth.
It was an earring. An earring she recognized from last night.
Swallowing down her apprehension, Minx coaxed the jewelry hoop from the dog. Yo-Yo unclamped his grip, allowing the earring to fall into the palm of her outstretched hand.
She stared at the bright, gleaming gold hoop. Something was wrong with the earring. Something her eyes refused to see, but she forced herself to look again at the jewelry piece. Attached to the gold post was a small lump of beige. She peered closer. Part of this fleshy chunk was rounded, the other part ragged, torn.
A shudder traveled down Minx’s spine. “Oh my gosh! It’s an earlobe.”

I hope you enjoy Minx and Gabe’s adventures. There are lots more surprises in store for them as the series progresses. Case Number Six is THE EMBEZZLED ENVELOPE.

Happy reading,

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

Author Notes on “Homesick”

“Homesick”, my popular science fiction short story, is one those tales that sneak up on you and tug on your heart. There are two very personal connections to this story for me; I’ll get into them in a bit. For now, let’s discuss the inside scoop on “Homesick”.

I wrote “Homesick” because at the time, I actually was, in fact, homesick. More on that later. Once the story was completed, I submitted it to a print publisher of anthologies. “Homesick” was gladly accepted and scheduled to be included in their newest anthology. The only item they wanted changed was the title. So instead of “Homesick”, the story was to be known as “Home Of The Heart.”

Alas, the publisher had to close its doors before the anthology was released. If you’ve been reading my Author Notes blogs, you’ll know this happens A LOT.

So the first thing I did was change the title back to “Homesick”. Next, I looked for a new home for the story. I eventually used it to promote my contemporary romance release LOVE AT THE TOP at Novel Books, Inc. (now defunct) Here is the beautiful cover.

“Homesick” was voted a Top Ten Finisher Best Science Fiction Short Story in the prestigious Preditors and Editors Readers Poll.

When the publisher went out of business, “Homesick” was free again. I included it in my anthology LUCKY 13, now no longer available electronically, but still available in print from my website.

Thirteen delightful stories for your reading pleasure by Susanne Marie Knight

When I received a call from my publisher, Uncial Press, to submit a short story, I sent in “Homesick” where it was very happily received. It was given a rating of 1 1/2 hankies out of 2 hankies -- “Unusual for a short story, because it's hard to build that kind of emotion in short stuff. You do it well.”

Artist’s concept cover

Here’s the blurb from the publisher: “Susanne Marie Knight always tells a good tale, whether long or short. Homesick is one of her shorts, but it packs a lot into its almost 6,000 words. Jayna is not a scientist; she's an artist. The only reason she's part of the Mars expedition is because her husband is one of the scientists vital to the team. Lacking the all-consuming passion of satisfying research, she is at loose ends and dreadfully homesick for the soft breezes and gentle green fields of Earth. Mars is harsh, red, and cold. She can't even breathe without a mask. As she paints the stark landscape, she gradually sees its beauty. And then something so incredible, so impossible happens, and she has to adapt to Mars...or die.”

Just what is Jayna homesick for?

This book is part of the Fascinating Sci-Fi line.

Some reader comments:

“Such a beautiful story! Was not prepared for the story or the ending!!!! Wonderfully written!”

“I really liked this story. I would definitely like to read more of your work.”

“Fantastic! Beautifully written! I love your descriptions!”

Now for the connections to real life as I mentioned in the beginning of this blog. Way back when, my husband was stationed on Okinawa, a beautiful island half a world away from where I was from. And yes, at first I was homesick. Looking up at the night sky, I couldn’t get over how strange it was to see different stars, different constellations. This thought led me to the idea on what it would be like looking up at the night sky on a different planet, for example, Mars. The following passage is the beginning of “Homesick” where Jayna describes her reaction to her new home. 


 Jayna stared out at the vast expanse of desert undulating before her. The shifting sands roughly lapped at her booted feet. As she watched, arid winds increased in tempo, whirling the gritty particles into a frenzy. Soon a sandstorm would obscure her vision and she’d have to return to the compound.

Not that she minded. Staying inside the manmade tomb carved into a mountain higher than Mount Everest irritated her, but being outside was infinitely worse. At least inside, ordinary, everyday objects surrounded her. Outside, only the monotonous, pale sand seemed familiar. But instead of reminding her of the home she’d left behind, the sand’s color made her blood boil. She’d expected the stuff to be blood-red.

God, how she hated this place. Even the name of the desert was apt: Hellas. Hell. How true.

Inhaling a deep breath of the purified oxygen-nitrogen mixture from the tank strapped to her shoulders, she took one last look at the velvet skies pierced by intense, untwinkling points of light. Two tiny moons hung low on the horizon. Two. If she lived to be one hundred, she’d never get used to that unnatural sight.


The second connection shows how Jayna has adapted to this new home, and also has new life growing inside her. Her miracle baby, she calls her unborn child. I, too, called my daughter my miracle baby. Below shows how Jayna feels about her new circumstances.


Sitting cross-legged at the base of the Hellas mountain she now called home, Jayna took a break from her painting and gazed out at the desolate beauty surrounding her. The shrunken sun had warmed the thin Martian atmosphere to forty degrees Fahrenheit, a veritable heat wave. High overhead, the two midget moons, Phobos and Deimos, shone down on her, keeping her company. Soon the larger one, Phobos, would complete its circuit across the sky and vanish for a few hours. But it would be back. She and Deimos could count on that. Funny how two moons instead of one now seemed so natural and right.

She smiled. Yes, a lot had changed in two months.

Her half-finished canvas propped up in front of her, she picked up an oil tube of ultramarine blue and squeezed some next to the viridian green on her palette. Springtime on Mars was beautiful, a cause for celebration. The nearby Mare Serpentis, once believed to be an ocean, was instead awash with hardy desert plants: mosses and lichens to decorate the Spartan landscape. New life, new growth abounded, just as it did within her.

She patted her generous tummy. Who would’ve guessed she had something in common with this forbidding planet? As the seed within her took hold, so did the tenacious desert plants. Each new life struggled against the odds to survive hostile conditions. Mother Nature’s miracle. Her miracle.

When she lifted a brush to the canvas, a gentle fluttering in her stomach stayed her hand. “You’re letting your presence be known, aren’t you, little one?”


I hope you enjoy Jayna’s wondrous story.

Happy reading,

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Author Notes on THE QUESTING BOX

Part of the fun of starting a new book is doing the research for it. In my popular five star Regency time-travel, THE QUESTING BOX, I needed a “device” that would send twenty-first century Rae Santini back to Regency England. I decided on a mysterious box that was an heirloom for her family. This box would be called, naturally, a questing box.

The act of going on a quest is a journey of self-discovery. Questing involves leaving the known world to explore one’s spiritual roots, obtain healing and knowledge, and then hopefully, return home with these new understandings. The Gypsy culture plays an important role in this novel, and to help me with this, I obtained a really cool resource book, GYPSIES OF BRITAIN, by Brain Vesley-Fitzgerald. That book and the internet gave me insights into the Romani people and their language that in turned, helped to give life to my characters.


As the adult child of an alcoholic, Rae Santini struggles with unnecessary guilt. If only she was a better person. If only she could have helped her father. If only he hadn’t died. So when a Questing Box comes her way, she longs to turn back the clock to save him. But she had been just eight at the time of his death; she hadn’t been ready to embark upon a healing journey. Eighteen years later, the mysterious box is gifted to her. She figures she has nothing to lose so she opens the box...

James Bonnell, the Earl of Blackburne, dreads returning to his family’s estate for Christmas. His parents, the Marquess and Marchioness of Litchfield, not only belittle his political career, but most urgently insist that he marry to beget an heir. As it turns out, he had intended to bring home a bride, however the “lady” in question is too free with her favors. Disheartened, James is on his way to Litchfield when he encounters an unconscious Rae. He quickly bundles her up and takes her to a nearby Gypsy encampment. A risky idea then comes to mind. Perhaps this attractive wood nymph will consent to a masquerade and act as his countess... just for the holidays?

Artist’s rendering of a possible cover

Rae Santini plans to go on a quest to heal herself. What she doesn’t know is that she must travel back to the past to do it.

THE QUESTING BOX is available at and, in addition to other internet locations. It’s has earned multiple 5 star reviews at and Goodreads and has quickly become a reader favorite!

This book is part of the prestigious Elegant Regencies line.

Here’s a tidbit from real life. In THE QUESTING BOX, Rae reconnects with her childhood by joining a Regency skating party. She’d first lived in the Northeast where snow is plentiful, and then later moved to Miami. No snow there! So when she finds herself on the James’ father’s estate with its own private lake, she’s delighted to try skating again. I also grew up in the Northeast where I learned to skate, too. Then later, I moved to Miami--no ice skating there! However, now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I’m not as brave as Rae. There will be no more ice skating parties for me!

Below is a picture of a typical Regency outing. The men have on skates--sharp double-edged blades with metal soles that were secured by leather straps--while the woman seated in a chair on the ice is pushed around by her escort. 

Drawn by Diana Sperling, 1/2/1817

The following passage describes Rae’s first try on the ice.

Concentrating her gaze on the solid ice below, Rae first took mincing steps. With James’ encouragement, she slowly lengthened her stride. The path of her skating blades cut incredibly fine particles of ice, sending splashes of ice outward, almost like a mist. The noise of her skates, along with James’ skates and the others’, combined into cutting, scraping sounds that then echoed out from the lake and up to the icy trees of the woods.
“Oh, James! Skating is just as I remembered. It’s so exhilarating!”
His emerald green eyes sparkled as brightly as the morning dew. “I am happy if you are happy.”
Happy didn’t even begin to describe what she was feeling. It was as if she’d been transported to her childhood in Boston, to when she and her father had skated together. Back then, her father had taught her but, sooner than she’d wanted, he had insisted she go solo.
Now was her time to go solo again. 
“I’m going to spread my wings now.” Pulling away from James’ arm, she took even longer strides. She quickly reached the next grouping of pine trees, circled around to face him, and then, with a swoosh, came to a stop.


I hope you enjoy Rae and James’ love story.

Happy reading,

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