Monday, January 25, 2016

Author Notes on “Cup O’Joe”

Here’s another inside scoop on a newly-released-as-a-single short story (or VERY short story as some would say). “Cup O’Joe” clocks in at 450 words. Yep, that’s right. Only 450 words. I call this little tale: horror with a twist. The genre isn’t what I usually write--romance writing with a twist--but it begged for me to tell its story.

This *very* short story is actually free at Smashwords. Here is the direct link:

It’s also on at the price of $.99 -- the hope is that Amazon will eventually pick it up as a freebie, and then the price will change to zero!

If you’re wondering why a romance writer decided to write a horror story, then here’s the 411. Quite a few years ago (still the present century, though) a call from an online publisher went out for horror stories. In addition to horror, the stories had to be short--short as in 500 words or less. Wow. Telling a coherent tale in only 500 words is quite a feat. So naturally, I was intrigued!

I conjured up “Cup O’Joe” and sent my submission in. Sadly, the publisher didn’t “get” the humor in the story. But his loss was my gain, for I then offered this bit of Flash Fiction on my website.

Original cover
 I recently decided to spruce up “Cup O’Joe” with a new cover. 

To celebrate Halloween, here's a non-calorie treat: "Cup o'Joe"--horror with a twist. Read it if you dare!

Sample reviews:
Scary story! Kind of gross too, but effective. Happy Hallowe'en!--J.R.

Neat little twist in this tale, I would be interested in perhaps seeing something-else from this world.--M.B.

This short story is part of the Uncanny Paranormals line.

Read life tidbit: In keeping with the length of this horror short story, I’m limiting myself to only one line from “Cup O’Joe”. It’s the first line in the story.

Hell, he didn’t feel human in the morning until he had a cup o’joe.

That pretty much sums it up for me!

Read “Cup O’Joe” if you dare! And please let me know what you think! Enjoy your morning coffee. :))

Happy reading,

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

Monday, January 18, 2016

Author Notes on “Shades of Old Glory”

The idea for “Shades of Old Glory”, my paranormal ghost short story, first started when I received a call from one of my publishers for a short story to include in an upcoming anthology. The theme of the anthology was holidays but not winter holidays. That was the only restriction; the genre was open; the storyline was up to me. I picked the Fourth of July in a contemporary setting along with a ghost from the Civil War. More on this below in my connections to real life section!

Alas! I know, I know, in my Author Notes Series I’ve rewritten “Alas” many times. But yes, alas, the anthology never came to fruition. No worries, though. 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

It is now available electronically at and as a single and has earned 4 star reviews! The word count is over 12,000 words, and Amazon estimates the book length to be 42 pages. It sells for $1.99.

After winning a contest she doesn’t remember entering, newly graduated Rebecca Sedgwick arrives at a Virginia plantation bed and breakfast ready to relax before starting her job search. She finds her older hosts very congenial but Jake, the handsome handyman, is antagonistic. That night, on the eve of the Fourth of July celebration, she has a vivid dream of a Civil War battle. As one corporal lays dying, he asks for her help. But how can she possibly help a ghost?

Jake Mantree is a hired hand on the very plantation his ancestors lost after the Civil War. A brooding loner, he resents northerner Rebecca’s winning ways. But he doesn’t count on her Yankee perseverance nor a Union ghost who has plans to make them fall in love over the holiday.

How can modern day Rebecca Sedgwick help a Civil War ghost?

This book is part of the Uncanny Paranormals line.

Now for the connection to real life. While I don’t have contact with a ghost from the Civil War (!), I DO have grandfathers (great grandfathers times two and great grandfathers times three) that were soldiers. My Knight grandfathers--father Levi H. Knight, was killed in action and son James Harrison Knight was wounded twice--fought for the North, as did all of the below except one, Joshua Coats, a Confederate private. I dedicated “Shades of Old Glory” to all of them.

To my great grandfathers who fought in the American Civil War.
James Harrison Knight--great grandfather x2, wounded.
John David Hollick--great grandfather x2.
John William Presson--great grandfather x2.
Joshua Coats--great grandfather x2.
Levi H. Knight--great grandfather x3, killed in action.
Alfred Marion Hacker, great grandfather x3.
Moses Allen Nelson, great grandfather x3.
John Tomer Presson, great grandfather x3.

Scene Set-Up: Rebecca’s first night at the Virginia plantation yields a spooky dream.

It was a dream; she knew it was a dream, but Rebecca couldn’t wake up no matter how hard she tried. She watched from the sidelines of a bloody, raging battle; she was an unseen observer to a scene so horrible, words could not describe.

The open field teemed with life... and death. Hundreds, no thousands of men poured over slopes, and the smell in the air--smoky from artillery and cannon fire--hung heavy with carnage and fear. Dusky blue uniforms fought with drab grey; it was a scene from the Civil War, and it was as real as anything she had ever seen, whether on the news or depicted in a movie.

At the front of an advancing regiment, a young man held the American--or Union--flag, hoisted high for all to see. He took his duty seriously for although blood splattered the torn sleeve of his blue uniform, he kept up a grueling pace, taking care not to allow the flag to touch the ground. This color-bearer guarded Old Glory against capture, for to secure the flag of one’s enemy was every soldier’s ambition.

Somehow Rebecca’s vantage point shifted from being on the sidelines. Now she traveled by this young man’s side.

“You’re wounded,” yelled another soldier to the left of him. “I’ll carry the flag for you.”

“No. I will... by God I must carry the colors to safety.” This man, a corporal by the two insignia stripes on his sleeve, struggled onward. A rifle bullet whizzed past her to settle in his right leg, causing him to grimace with pain. But still he continued forward, flag held high. Thirteen stripes, red and white, fluttered in the deadly wind, but instead of fifty stars, there were thirty-four.

How she longed to embrace the corporal who looked even younger than her. She ached to ease his burden and treat his wounds, but even if she could have, she instinctively knew he would not have allowed her to. His sacred duty was to raise the flag in battle to give hope and to rally the troops.


I hope you enjoy Rebecca and Jake’s ghostly love story!

Happy reading,

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

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Author Notes on “Happy Anniversary”

“Happy Anniversary”, my family favorite romance short story, has been around a good while, and has recently been released on and Here’s the inside scoop on how this short story first got started. Back in the last century (1994!), a print publisher in New Jersey put out a call for romance short stories. *Extremely* short stories, around 1,000 words.

I then wrote “Happy Anniversary” using for a location a New Jersey restaurant that I’d recently dined at (more on this real life tidbit below). The publisher snapped up this little jewel, and immediately requested more short stories. I complied by writing another tale, also happily accepted. “Friday Night”--not yet available on be featured in a future Author Notes blog.

Back to “Happy Anniversary”: This story is definitely a feel-good romance, accomplishing all the goals of a happily-ever-after scenario. And the word count? About 1,300. All that emotion jammed into a tiny package! As one of my publishers complimented me: Extremely well done and unusual for a short story, because it's hard to build that kind of emotion in short stuff. You do it well.

The story sells for $0.99. 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.

Ten years ago, Claire Newberry made a terrible mistake. When she returns to the restaurant where she foolishly had broken up with her boyfriend, will she get a second chance at love?

Artist’s rendering of a possible cover

Then in this century, “Happy Anniversary” appeared electronically on RomanceEverAfter’s website. After a time 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

Now I’ve released it on and

Will Claire get a second chance at love?

This book is part of the Romantic Contemporaries line.

Here’s a lovely reader comment: Your story was a very pleasant read. I cared about the characters and was glad that Claire was blessed with a second chance at love.”

Also, in my updated non-fiction, THE CREATIVE WRITING WORKBOOK, “Happy Anniversary” is included free as a writing example for some of the exercises. Re-release of this resource will be in 2016.

Real life tidbit: Since the publisher mentioned above was based in New Jersey, I wanted to write a story that had a local feel. My sister lived in that state, and on one of my visits, we dined at a restaurant in Somerville, off of busy Route 206, just as Claire Newberry does. To be authentic, I had Claire eat what I’d had: fresh fruit appetizer topped with lemon sorbet, white Chablis, and veal parmesan. Delicious!

In the paragraph below, we find Claire in a contemplative mood at the restaurant.
Nibbling on the fresh fruit appetizer, Claire watched the New Jersey sky slowly darken. She shouldn’t have come; she lived miles from Somerville, and she hated driving at night. But she’d made the reservation weeks ago; she’d even arranged to have a sitter for the kids. Tonight was special, something of an anniversary for her. Ten years ago tonight had been the last time she’d basked in the glow of Tom’s unforgettable love

I hope you enjoy Claire and Tom’s love story.

Happy reading,

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