Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Spotlight & Interview: Just for the Weekend by Susanne Matthews

Just for the Weekend
Susanne Matthews

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance

About the Book: 
Sometimes, you have to step out of the box.
Kindergarten teacher, Cleo James, needs a break. For the past three years, she’s put her life on hold to help her father deal with grief, but now she’s ready to move on. A weekend in Vegas at a sci-fi convention may be just the place to start. She’ll be costumed as an alien and no one will recognize her. What could go wrong? Things get complicated when she’s attracted to a conventioneer whom she believes is a gorgeous Chippendale dancer.  Can Cleo set her strict moral code aside and enjoy what promises to be a once upon a time weekend?
Multimillionaire real estate developer, Sam Mason has sworn off serious relationships. In Vegas to visit family and friends, he’s talked into attending a sci-fi convention for the night. Dressed as an alien, he’s confident he can elude the usual gold diggers looking to star in the role of Mrs. Sam Mason. When he spots a beautiful woman dressed as a green-skinned slave girl, he’s captivated by her and changes his plans to leave Vegas in the morning. The more time he spends with her, the more he realizes she’s unlike any woman he’s known. Fantastic sex and too much alcohol find him married to his alien siren, but before he can tell her the truth about himself and see if they can make their marriage work, the bride vanishes.  Finding her is going to be a challenge.

PRFL would like to extend a very warm welcome to Susanne Matthews, author of Just for the Weekend. Susanne, to begin, can you tell us where you're from, and where/whom did your love for writing come from? 

      Who or what most influenced you to become a writer?
      Nora Roberts and Daphne Du Maurier. I love their books and always wanted to be able to share the ideas running around in their heads. As an English teacher, I loved literature and hoped to instil that love in my students.

           If you were to be left alone on an island, what three books would you take with you? 
Tough question. One would have to be The Bible, since I’d need something to keep me from total despair. A second one would definitely be a survival manual of some kind because I’d be absolutely hopeless on my own and would probably eat something poisonous without realizing it. The third would be Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, because it’s a survival story and I’d need that too.

What are your most and least favorite movie genres?
I like action movies and thrillers like James Bond and sci-fi movies like Star Trek. I loved The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as well as the Harry Potter movies. I also enjoy a good comedies and taking my grandkids to see Disney and other animated movies. I like romances and musicals like Mamma Mia and Phantom of the Opera and well as the old ones with Bing Crosby and Elvis. Christmas isn’t Christmas without watching White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, and It’s a Wonderful Life. I dislike anything that can be categorized as a slasher or horror film, and that includes the recent spate of vampire movies. I detest movies without plots based on simple stupidity, so I avoid those too.

If you could choose any man for your next book cover, who would he be? 
Stephen Amell the star of Arrow. Tied for second would be Nathan Filion from Castle. The choice would depend on the content of the book since one is a bit younger than the other.

When you are on a deadline, what aspect of your ‘regular’ life suffers most? 
Everything—meals, laundry, housework, you name it. My husband doesn’t get to see me much either.

What advice would you give aspiring authors? 
Writing a novel is harder than you think. Have a viable and believable plot and reread your manuscript several times to make sure you aren’t head hopping and don’t have huge plot holes.  Grammar and sentence structure are important. If the manuscript is full of simple errors, it probably won’t fly with most editors. Read the publisher’s guidelines before submitting. There’s no point in wasting their time and yours. Research the publisher thoroughly before you commit. Make sure they are a legitimate enterprise. Check with Writer Beware and ask questions. Don’t sign a contract without reading it thoroughly. Victoria Strauss has good advice to offer too.

What advice would you give seasoned writers? 
Stay the course. Keep writing and telling your wonderful stories. Even when things look bad, there’s someone who needs to read what you’re writing. As frustrating as some editors can be, nothing beats a well-edited book, and you never stop learning how to improve your craft.  Have confidence in yourself. You grow with each book you write. Don’t be afraid to consider self-publishing. It may be a challenge at first, but thousands of authors have gone that way and love it.

When reading for pleasure, do you prefer a physical or electronic book? 
I use both, depending on the location and the circumstances. I have a kindle and a kobo, but I find reading on them difficult outside on a sunny day. I also don’t like taking them to the beach. It’s too easy for someone to walk away with them while I’m cooling off. People rarely walk away with paper books. At home, I use my kobo or kindle.

From the first stroke of a pen (or laptop), how long did it take you get published? 
Six months from when I started to write seriously, but the first book I wrote wasn’t my first one published.  Fire Angel took me two months to write, and I sold it a month later. It was released two months after that.

Did you ever feel like calling it quits? 
Yes, especially recently when two of my publishers have closed their doors unexpectedly, but I still have three books out there under my own name and a novella I co-wrote, so maybe I won’t throw in the towel just yet.

What did you do when you got your first contract? 
I cried. It was a dream come true—the number one item on my bucket list. It’s a thrill nothing can duplicate. Even though it’s exciting to sign a new contract, it will never be as exciting as signing that very first one.

Thank you so much for having me and giving me this opportunity to connect with your followers.

Thank you for joining us today, Susanne. We really enjoyed the visit. Good luck and great sales with Just for the Weekend

“Holy crap! You could have warned me.”
Mitch wore a long black wig, heavy brown makeup, and the facial ridges of a female Klingon warrior. Her body was shoved into a tight, black leather corset-styled top that accentuated her breasts and a long, leather skirt paired with heeled boots with silver toecaps. She had a knife of sorts shoved into her belt.
“Wow! You look fantastic. I could use one of the push-up bras from hell if I ever wanted to look sexy.”
“What are you talking about? You’re one of the sexiest woman I know, and you’re completely oblivious to it. Get your nose out of your father’s ancient history books and look at yourself in the light of the twenty-first century. I love you, girl, but sometimes you frustrate me.”
“Yeah, well, let’s agree to disagree on that. I don’t want to be noticed that way. There’s more to me than a set of boobs and long legs. I’m much happier out of the limelight. Now, are you going to tell me about your makeup?”
“It’s a mask. My friend Hailey works at Paramount and made it for me last year. It gets a little warm after a while, but it’s a lot easier than putting the makeup on each time.”
“I wish I had something like that. Where’s the rest of my costume? I’d better be wearing more than green body paint, blood red lipstick, and gold eye shadow.”
“It’s on your bed.”
Cleo stared at the scraps of fabric and jewelry on the spread.
“No way! There’s got to be more to it than that.”
The costume consisted of a burgundy silk bikini bra, a matching string bikini bottom with gold-colored sheer skirt panels front and rear, gold muscle bracelets shaped like snakes, and two-inch wide metallic fabric ankle shackles without the chain.
“You’ve got to be kidding. I’ll look like a semi-naked leprechaun. How does that fit into a sci-fi convention?”
“It happens to be one of the most popular women’s costumes. For the record, leprechauns wear green, and unless they’re some kind of mutants, they aren’t green. With my five-foot-four figure, the costume loses something, but on you, it’ll be awesome.” Mitch handed her a glass of wine. “Here, take a drink and relax. You showed just as much by the pool this afternoon.”
“Yeah, and whose idea was that? I don’t see why I couldn’t wear my black swimsuit this afternoon. You seem to forget about the moral turpitude clause in my contract. Lying around in the sun half-naked is pushing it. I certainly won’t be wearing that blue bikini to take the kiddies swimming at the local pool.”
“That clause is archaic, and you worry about it way too much—between your father’s ‘rules’ and the school board’s ‘thou shall not’s,’ you’re living in the past. Besides you needed a new swimsuit. Even my mother doesn’t wear a one-piece bathing suit like the one you had. I don’t even think my grandma would wear it. You chose the bikini—there was that gorgeous leopard one…”
“You mean the one cut down to my navel in front, and so high on the hips my ass hung out? No thanks. At least the bikini covered most of my boobs and butt.”
“Whatever.” Mitch rolled her eyes. “Let’s get you dressed. We need to be downstairs in twenty minutes.”
Mitch helped her put on what was surely the skimpiest alien costume in the universe. Cleo stood before the mirror staring at the creature looking back at her.
“I look like a mutant leprechaun belly dancer.” She took a sip of her wine. “It’s a damn good thing you didn’t show me this when you asked me to come. I’d have said no.”
 “For the record, you’re not a mutant leprechaun; you’re an Orion slave girl. Men are powerless before you. Too bad that cutie from the bar last night can’t see you. You’re worth a dozen of the brunette he was with. Come here so I can spray the glitter on you.”
Two glasses of wine in quick succession were easing her embarrassment, but as she allowed Mitch to spray the liquid shimmer on her hair and body, she couldn’t resist one final complaint.
“Well, I’d rather wear what you’re wearing. If the air-conditioning is turned up as high as it was this morning, I’ll be an Orion slave icicle!”
“Seriously, Cleo, relax. Don’t be a prude. No one’s going to recognize you. I know you’re not used to showing so much skin, but you look fantastic, and the men will be drooling all around you. Every woman in the room is going to envy you. You’ll be the most sought-after slave girl here. ”
“God, I hope not. That’s the last thing I want. I feel like a chunk of meat on display for a starving man. You’re the extrovert, the one who wants to be the center of attraction. I’m not. I think that’s why we’re friends—because we’re so different.” Horror filled her eyes as she thought of something else. “Crap, I hope no one takes my picture. The last thing I need is to have someone see us on the Internet and recognize me. I’ll wear this tonight because it’s too late to find anything else, but we’re going costume shopping tomorrow. I’m sure we can find something a little less revealing.”
“Whatever you say, but I don’t think anyone’s going to recognize you.”
Cleo turned around and stood in front of the mirror. Her mouth dropped open in shock. Good grief. It’s even worse than I imagined. Thanks to the glitter, her skin reflected the light and looked alive, shimmering as she moved. Her hair shone the same way, and she looked alluring and mysterious. Her large, hazel eyes seemed more golden than ever. Mitch was right about one thing: she didn’t look like a kindergarten teacher from Gordon’s Grove. She looked like a sexy, alien siren. Just the look I want around a bunch of half-drunk Neanderthals. She remembered how decent guys had turned into absolute jerks at university costume parties.
“If it makes you feel better, you can stand behind the table replenishing the books as I sign them and handing out the bookmarks and the other swag the publisher provided. Come on, let’s go.”
Cleo followed her best friend out of the room. She shook her head. Why do I let myself get talked into these things?
Cleo followed Mitch into the convention hall packed with hundreds of people in various alien costumes, and allowed some of the excitement in the air to calm her fears. She recognized outfits from various sci-fi movies and television shows. There were several Orion slave girls in a variety of shapes, shades, and sizes, and Cleo saw the not-so-friendly glares she got from them—especially when one of their male friends stared admiringly at her. She nodded in return and chuckled when one girl gave the guy she was with a jab in the ribs.
She tried to keep up with Mitch, who barreled across the room as if she were in a speed-walking race. Barefoot as she was, conscious of the icky, sticky carpet, Cleo moved slowly to avoid stomping boots and heels. She’d almost made it to the promised land of booth security when a giant, in snake-like makeup and the dark gray leather and chain mail associated with the Cardassians, grabbed her arm. He spun her around quickly.
“Hey, let go of my …” Her angry words died on her lips.
“What have we here?” He eyed her hungrily. “Are you lost, my pretty little slave girl?”
Familiar chocolate eyes pierced hers, and she couldn’t think straight. His whiskey-smooth voice caressed her; his touch ignited a fire along her spine. Realizing what he’d said, she searched for an answer.
“Lost? No, I got separated from my Klingon friend. She’s over there.”
She pointed to the publishers’ autograph area where Mitch stood.
“Then allow me to escort you safely to her.”
Holding her close to him, he ushered her across the congested convention floor. He bowed to Mitch and gave the Cardassian salute.
“I believe she’s yours, but I’m entitled to a reward for coming to her assistance.”
He smiled wickedly before pulling Cleo into his arms and capturing her mouth with his.
Cleo held herself rigid, but the kiss poured liquid fire through her. Of their own volition, her arms wrapped around his neck both to hold her upright and to encourage the incredible sensations to continue. His mouth devoured hers as if she was his last meal. She’d been kissed before, but never like this. When he slowly pulled away, she was breathless. She read desire in his eyes.
“Later, my Orion beauty.” He turned and walked away, disappearing into the crowd.
 “Who the hell is that?”
“I have no idea.” Cleo reached for Mitch’s blue-tinted Romulan ale and drained the glass.

About 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.

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