Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Announcing a new series!

I’ve started writing a new series. I’m already writing two, so adding one more seems like a foolish endeavour. But what can I say? It needed to be written.

The series is called House of Magic. It’s a combination of mystery and magical, with supernatural entities added to the mix. The protagonist is Phoebe Thorpe, a perfectly ordinary assistant to an antiques dealer. Only, it turns out the antiques dealer is anything but ordinary.

The series is set in London, but it’s not the Two-Natured London of my paranormal romance series. Supernatural is hidden from humans, and most people don’t even know magic exists. It’s not a romance series either. It’s more like my P.I. Tracy Hayes series, where mystery is at the forefront, with all sorts of shenanigans on the side. This one is lighter on the murders though.

The first book is called Hexing the Ex, and it comes out in June 6th. Here’s the description:

I didn’t expect to be evicted the first thing I returned from my holiday, but thanks to my roommate Nick, that’s what I was facing.

It’s not exactly easy to find a new place to live in London, so when Phoebe Thorpe spots a room-to-let sign at the window of a magic shop, she doesn’t hesitate. The room is perfect, even if chores are part of the rent. There is only one thing odd about her new landladies. They seem to believe magic exists.

Phoebe doesn’t believe in magic, but unfortunately magic believes in her. A mysterious statuette is sent to her boss, Archibald Kane, and she accidentally triggers a curse meant for him. Naturally, the first person she curses is her ex-boyfriend. But why would anyone want to curse her boss, a perfectly ordinary antiques dealer? Or is he?

Phoebe sets out to break the curse with the help of her new housemates. But it isn’t easy trying to solve a mystery she doesn’t even believe is real. Then again, that hellhound chasing her seemed pretty solid… Maybe there’s more to magic than hexing one’s ex.

Hexing the Ex by Susanna Shore

And here’s a sample of the first chapter:

I’m not one for premonitions. I don’t interpret every shiver in my spine as a portent, and I don’t believe my Aunt Clara’s bones when she declares that they predict doom. She just picks a random news item and announces that her bones knew it was going to happen.

But when my sandals sank into a soaked carpet as I stepped onto the small landing outside my flat, I knew everything was not well inside.

My second clue was the flood of water that flushed over my ankles when I opened the door.

Oh, bugger.

I abandoned the luggage I’d laboriously dragged up the steep stairs to the third floor, and crossed the small foyer in a couple of soggy leaps to the bathroom where I could hear the water running. I yanked the door open and got my feet washed a second time.

The sight inside turned my bones liquid, but I stiffened my spine and waded through the water to the running shower and the prone figure lying under it—on the drain.

“Nick!”

I kneeled by him and was instantly drenched by the shower. “Bloody hell!”

Sputtering, I reached blindly for the faucet and turned it off before focusing on my flatmate again. I lifted his head that was mercifully wedged in the corner so that it was above the water, and patted his cheeks. He was breathing, but completely out of it.

My temper flared now that I knew he was alive. “You bloody dope-head! What have I told you about showering when coming down from your high?”

He’d passed out in the shower before, but he’d never caused such a flood. Mostly because I’d been home and had been able to prevent disaster. But I’d been away on a holiday for two weeks, foolishly thinking that I could trust him not to wreck the place while I was gone.

I tried to take a hold under his arms, but his slack body was surprisingly heavy, and his wet skin was slippery. Getting up, I wrapped my hands around his wrists and pulled, which worked better. The drain finally open, the water began to surge down with a deep gurgle.

Sliding and gliding on the wet bathroom tiles, I dragged Nick to the hallway. The wall-to-wall carpet was soaked, but he was wet anyway, so I just dropped him there. His spread-eagled lanky form revealed details of his anatomy I really didn’t want to see but—sadly—had witnessed before.

Then I fetched my luggage from the landing, carried it to my room that was miraculously dry, and stripped to my underwear. I’d soon be sweaty cleaning the mess Nick had made, so there was no point wearing clothes. Then I headed to the bathroom and got to work.

Happy homecoming, Phoebe. Happy fricking homecoming.

***

You can continue reading on my webpage. And you can preorder the book here.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Prepare for the P.I. on the Scent!

I have a really ambitious publishing schedule for this year. I’ve barely recovered from the launch of Wolf Moon (thank you everyone who have read it so far) when it’s already time to prepare for the next one. Tracy Hayes, P.I. on the Scent comes out on April 4th.

Tracy Hayes, P.I. on the Scent by Susanna Shore

P.I. on the Scent is the eighth book in my P.I. Tracy Hayes series of light mysteries. (I prefer light to cosy, btw, because Tracy is a P.I. in training, not a complete amateur.) It takes place about a month after the previous book and it’s March—though not yet St. Patrick’s Day like today.

The blooming spring messes with Tracy’s head and she wants to start gardening. Jackson, who finally became her boyfriend in the previous book, eventually obliges. But since it’s the two of them, a visit to a gardening centre puts them in the middle of a mafia turf war—pun intended.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Walker, the agency secretary, gets defrauded by a dating scammer. When he ends up dead, she’s the prime suspect. Naturally Tracy and Jackson will do everything in their power to find the real murderer. They definitely don’t lack for suspects.

I’ve been planning to write about dating scammers for a while now. I’ve read so many stories over the years of people who have sent all their money to a stranger they’ve met online, only to discover they’ve been conned. But the most interesting scammers are those who meet their victims in person. How are they able to make their victims give them endless sums, maybe even take out loans to fund their scammer?

The point of view in my book is that of the victims. It’s not easy to learn you’ve been fooled out of your money, especially if you’ve been in love. No wonder our scammer ends up dead.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book:

“Do you think this is some sort of payback?”
    Jackson startled. “Payback for what? I don’t think Douglas even knows about the arrest. Besides, the way I see it, he owes us one.”
    “Yeah, ‘cause that’s how the mafia works.”
    He managed a ghost of a smile. “Let’s try the direct approach. Moreira promised us a favor. This would qualify.” I grimaced and his brows shot up. “What?”
    I should’ve told him at the time. Now it seemed like I was being deliberately secretive. But I had no choice if we wanted to help Cheryl.
    “Remember the garden center today?”
    “Difficult not to,” he said dryly. “Go on.”
    I inhaled deeply and plunged in. “While you were arranging things with Oleg, I went to check the yacht. And I witnessed Douglas and Moreira giving the owner of the rental service a hard time. Moreira was manhandling him.”
    His brows shot up. “And you didn’t tell me, why, exactly?”
     “You were so happy about the contract,” I said feebly, but it sounded like the excuse it was.
    Jackson regarded me calmly for a few heartbeats, as if considering his words carefully. He didn’t seem angry. “Moreira was a criminal when you met him and he hasn’t stopped being a criminal. You’ve always known that.”
    I sighed. He was right. Just because Moreira had been helpful didn’t make him a reformed man. “So I should call him?”
    He tilted his head sideways and a slow smile spread on his face. “You should visit him in person. It’ll be much more difficult for him to resist you if you’re in the same room.”
    “I should’ve worn a shirt with a deeper neckline, then,” I mused, eyeing the plain T-shirt with apprehension.
    Jackson grinned, giving an appreciative glance to my chest too. “He’d know something was up the moment he saw you if you did.”
    Couldn’t argue with that.
    “What if Moreira is here in Atlantic City?” I thought to ask.
    “If he was in Brooklyn earlier today, I doubt it.”
    I hoped so. I needed time to collect myself before facing him. He tended to unsettle me, and I needed my wits about me when asking him for a favor.
    The drive passed mostly in silence, but it wasn’t anxious silence anymore. It wasn’t entirely restful either though, with Jackson deep in his thoughts. He worried for Cheryl. By the time we reached Moreira’s hotel in Red Hook in Northwest Brooklyn, I’d worked myself into a state too.
    It was half past eight, and even though it was Sunday, the place was fairly busy, people lining to the restaurants on the long ground floor gallery, or climbing the wide stairs to the next floor, where the casino was. Not bad for a hotel that had only been open since January.
    I felt dowdy and out of place in my capris and T-shirt as I crossed the marble floor of the luxurious lobby to the reception desk, but that was nothing new. This place did it to me every time, even though many people there were dressed very casually too.
    To my bafflement, the woman behind the desk positively lit up when she saw us. “Are you here to see Mr. Moreira?” she asked before I’d had a chance to introduce us. I managed a baffled nod and she instantly picked up a phone and announced us—with our real names.
    “He’ll be with you presently.”
    “Thank you,” Jackson said calmly, and guided me to wait at the far end of the reception desk, even though the woman had looked like she wanted to keep talking with us.
    “What was that about?” I hissed, and he shrugged.
    “We did save the day here only three weeks ago.”
    That was the big diamond case.
    “But we were using false names.”
    “Newspapers used our real ones,” he reminded me. It had been great advertisement for our agency and we’d been insanely sought-after ever since.
    Moreira emerged from the elevator, looking like the picture of business casual in the tan pants and white shirt of his Panama suit, though he’d given up the jacket. I eyed him with apprehension, trying to read his face for signs that he had reverted to his old ways, but he spread his arms, a welcoming smile on his face.
    That did not ease my worry.
    “If it isn’t my two favorite people in the world. What can I do for you?”
    What the hell?
    “Are you dying? Am I dying?” I asked, baffled, making him laugh. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d heard the sound before, and while he had a good laugh, it did nothing to ease my worry.
    “We haven’t forgotten the diamond exhibition yet. You’re greatly admired by the entire staff here. I’m just playing for the audience.”
    That made more sense.
    “In that case, remember how you promised us a favor in return?”
    His harsh face turned serious. “I think we need food for this conversation.”

***

I hope you enjoyed the snippet. You can read the first two chapters on my webpage. And you can preorder the book on Amazon, iBooks, B&N and Kobo.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Wolf Moon is here!

It’s the publication day for Wolf Moon, Two-Natured London 7. My paranormal romance series featuring wolf-shifters and vampire warriors of London has progressed slowly but steadily since the first book, The Wolf’s Call, came out in 2012. There are currently seven longer books, two in-between romances, and one collection of Christmas themed short stories.

Wolf Moon by Susanna Shore

Wolf Moon is about Jamie Green, the alpha of the Greenwood clan, who was first introduced in The Wolf’s Call, the romance between his brother Rafe and Charlotte, a human lawyer, and who also featured in A Warriorfor the Wolf, the romance between his daughter Harriet and Zach, the vampire warrior. Jamie is a tragic character in a way, as his wolf has bound him to a human woman who’s divorced him decades ago, preventing him from finding new love. The book opens with the ex-wife suddenly dying and freeing him.

Jamie’s counterpart is Isla Shaw who was briefly introduced in Magic on the Highland Moor. She’s the beta of Shaw clan in Scotland. Her mate and child have died in the First World War a century ago, but she hasn’t felt the need to find new love. The death of her father, the clan alpha, plunges her life into disarray and forces her to seek a way out. Enter Jamie.

I like Jamie’s and Isla’s romance. It is—like my editor put it—a mature romance between two people who have hurt in the past but who aren’t broken by it anymore. Love takes them by surprise, but they are willing to fight for this sudden chance for happily ever after. The book can be read as stand-alone, but you’ll enjoy it much more if you’re familiar with the characters and goings on of the series in whole.

You can read the first two chapters on my webpage, and you can purchase the book on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo and Smashwords. Happy reading!

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Interpretations and adaptations

We’ve been binge watching The Magicians over the weekend with my husband. I’d like to say I’m late to the party, but the truth is, I never intended to watch it. That’s because I found the book by Lev Grossman the series is based on frustrating and irritating. Imagine my surprise, then, that I kind of like the show. Not enough to give it my full attention—I’m writing this blog post while it runs on the background—but enough to keep watching.

One of the reasons I disliked the book The Magicians was because I didn’t like any of the characters. I found them selfish and annoying, and I didn’t care if they lived or died. And I couldn’t understand Quentin’s obsession with Fillory, the magical land he’s read about in a book. The story was oddly paced, with utterly unnecessary sections that took forever, and jumps in time and to secondary characters that didn’t make any sense. By the time the characters reached Fillory, I stopped reading.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The TV series is different. Much more time is given to secondary characters, with proper storylines of their own. Different aspects of magic and interpretations of the world are given equal time. The characters all seem better fleshed out. Unnecessary sections—like the characters spending months as geese—are skipped. Don’t get me wrong; I still find the characters selfish and annoying most of the time. But the way they are portrayed by the actors makes them easier to stomach. Quentin is less annoying when he is just one character among many.

Scriptwriters of TV series have the benefit of several books to draw from when they adapt it. They already know what plotlines are important and what aren’t and they can choose accordingly what to show. They don’t have to wait for a character’s storyline to unfold; they can start introducing it from the start. They can pace the story better to keep the viewers’ interest. And they can make their own interpretations. The Magicians definitely benefits from that.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

We watched The Bridgertons over the holidays like the rest of the world. It’s another great adaptation of a long series that is very different from the original. Romantic fiction tends to follow a formula where only one couple is in focus in one book. Secondary characters are introduced, but they aren’t fleshed out until in their own books. Again, the scriptwriters had the advantage of knowing all the characters’ stories already, and could make use of them from the start. The result is much more layered and nuanced than in the books. I’ve read most of them, and while I liked them, I liked the TV series more.

The adage is that a book is always better than its adaptation. But not all books have enough substance to be adapted into hours of entertainment. More is needed. Occasionally the adapters make their own additions that aren’t necessarily accepted by the fans—The Hobbit movies come to mind—but with Bridgertons, for example, there hasn’t been a similar backlash. All the elements and their interpretations are there in the books. They’re just being introduced in a different pace. The adaptation is something new, and sometimes even better.

How about you? Is the original always better than the adaptation or is there room for interpretations?

 

Monday, 21 December 2020

Reflections on a plague year

Worry not, there’s no illness on my house or any of my family. In fact, the difficult year has been easy on me. Partly it’s because I live in Finland where the Covid situation has been relatively painless (there has been no lockdowns, for example, and we had a proper holiday, if isolated), and partly it’s because I’m reclusive by nature and haven’t found the restrictions on my life overly straining.

The situation has had some impact on my life, of course, though minor. I had to relinquish my study to my husband when he started working from home, as he makes a lot of conference calls and needs privacy. But the move to living room was good for me. I got a new desk, because the old one didn’t fit there, which turned out to be ergonomically better. My back pain hasn’t acted up since. And the change of scenery (a view from a different window) cheered me up. So far, spending all day, every day with my husband hasn’t put a strain on us. And as an added bonus, without a long daily commute, he’s been less tired.


However, just so working from home wouldn’t be too easy, there was a six month long fa├žade renovation in our block of flats, which was noisy to say the least and included three months spent inside a plastic tent. But it’s over now and, in hindsight, went by fairly painlessly.


Professionally, the year has been good for me. I’m still far from making a living with my writing, but for the first time in three years, I’ll end up on black. This even after extra expenses, like spending more on advertising after Amazon started adding 24% VAT on it, and purchasing a new domain name after I changed all my social media under Susanna Shore. You can read more about it here.

My biggest success this year was P.I. Tracy Hayes series of cosy mysteries. It did especially well on Amazon, whereas the Two-Natured London paranormal romance series was more popular among the readers on iBooks. Both series had a new book published this year.


In April, I published Magic on the Highland Moor, Two-Natured London 6.5. It’s a shorter, in-between romance that bridges Crimson Warrior (TNL 6) and Wolf Moon (TNL 7), with characters and storylines in common in all three. And in July, I published Tracy Hayes, Valentine of a P.I., which is book seven in the series and sees, among other things, Tracy and Jackson trying to spend a Valentine’s Day together. I also published a new bundle edition called Starters, which combines four of my first books as a sample of my writing.


I also finished writing two books that will come out next year. Wolf Moon comes out in February, and Hexing the Ex, a start of a new paranormal mystery series, will come out in June. And I wrote two other books that I haven’t had time to finish, both completely different from what I usually write. Even though they remain incompletefor nowwriting them refreshed me, so I don’t consider them waste of time.

My other writing activities include two blogs, though this one didn’t see much action the entire year. I’ve only posted four times, not including this one, mostly because I didn’t seem to have energy for it. In contrast, my reading blog has been very active. I joined NetGalley in July, a site where one can request early review copies in exchange for reviews, and I’ve tried to diligently review everything I’ve been given. It’s been fun and educational. I have twenty or so books already lined up for the next year, so that’ll continue strong. I’ve also sent three newsletters this year; not much, but at least it’s a low commitment for the subscribers. You can join here.


In addition to writing, my publishing related activities included brushing up the covers of the Two-Natured London series. I’m not technically very skilled, but I’m happy with the results. And I can always redo them when my skills have improved. I like working on book covers; it refreshes my mind when writing gets stuck. I made several other covers too, for three different series that’ll see light in two or three years’ time.

I think that sums up my year. All in all, it was pretty good and hassle free, even if it was mostly spent cooped up at home. I hope that you’ve got through the year with good health too, and that the next year will be better for us all.



Monday, 14 December 2020

More new covers

As I promised last week, here are the new covers for Two-Natured London series. The changes aren’t drastic, but I found them necessary. Even though I’ve redesigned the covers regularly over the years, the title fonts were different sizes and not always aligned from book to book after the latest tweaking. That’s mostly because I’d wanted to have the titles of each main book with only one font, and some have longer titles than others. I gave up on that in this redesign and put a preposition here and there with a different font. I think it works better now.

Last week I revealed the new cover for Moonlight, Magic and Mistletoes (currently on sale), but I’ve since made some changes for that one too. The background was originally completely white, but I found that it was too different from the rest of the series, so I added a moon and some colour to it. It’s still snowy, but now it doesn’t stand out too much.



And finally, the cover of the upcoming Wolf Moon—although I’ve revealed it before too. It didn’t change much; the shade of red in the font and T-shirt mostly. If you’re interested, sample chapters are now up on my webpage.

For those curious about how many books there will be in the Two-Natured London series, I’ve already made covers for books 7.5, 8, 8.5, and 9. There will be books number 9.5 and 10 too, but those don’t have covers yet. And you’ll just have to wait for them to be revealed in due time too.

What do you think of the current covers? Let me know.

In other news: Smashwords is having End of Year Sale starting from December 18th. My Two-Natured London books will be discounted, as will be some other books, and Starters, an introductory bundle of my first books will be free. So don’t miss the opportunity.

 

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Christmas sale (and a new cover)

It’s December, and so Moonlight, Magic and Mistletoes, Two-Natured London 5.6 is on sale. It’s only $0.99 (or the equivalent in your currency) until Christmas. Don’t miss the opportunity.

The book is a collection of Christmas themed short stories set in my Two-Natured London paranormal romance world. There are six stories in total, with both new characters and those you’ve met in the first five and a half books. All take place during Christmas and most have romance in them.

The first story, Escape on a Moonless Night, is a longer one. It’s set in the 1660s France and features Alexander Hamilton and his son Gabriel, the vampire warriors of the Crimson Circle. It tells the story of how Alexander met the mother of his second son, Zacharias. It’s an exciting story of a daring escape and falling in love.

The Christmas Miracle is about Tom and Laura, and Tom’s Clydesdale Amanda who is in a desperate need of a miracle. They are both new characters, but Tom is the brother of Gemma from A Wolf of Her Ownthe one who is on his honeymoon…

Wintry Fairytale features Jack Thornton, Charly’s brother, introduced in The Wolf’s Call. His loveable Newfoundland Bob is responsible for bringing unexpected love to his life. It’s also a story of accepting a new future as a two-natured.

In Enchanted Evening, the main characters are humans working for the Crimson Circle. Amy and Theo inspire the vampire warriors to organise a huge Christmas party for the staff, and love blooms.

The next story, Magical Christmas, gives us a glimpse to the life of the couple that formed in Magic under the Witching Moon. Adrian and Raven are planning their first Christmas together and it’s not as easy as one might hope.

Finally, in Christmas at the Greenwood Manor, the wolf cub Vincent we’ve met in A Wolf of Her Own, gets Jamie, the clan alpha to organise a Christmas party for the wolf-shifter clan. There’s an unexpected gift for Vincentand a surprise for Rafe and Charly too.

If you’re in a mood for sweet, romantic Christmas stories with a paranormal twist, this book is for you. And it’s a good preparation for Wolf Moon too, as some revelations play a small role there.

And as promised, the new cover. It’s more winter themed than the original, and definitely more light-hearted than the other covers in the series. But I find it wonderfully romantic.

Moonlight, Magic and Mistletoes

Other books in the Two-Natured London series have had their covers brushed up a little too. I’ll share those in the next post—although you can already catch them on my webpage.

You can purchase Moonlight, Magic and Mistletoes on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo and Smashwords, and read a sample chapter on my webpage.