Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Seasoned Heroes and Heroines What's Not to Love?

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment
Take a look in the heroes and heroines in the pictures.
 Everyone of them is 49 or older.

  
 We love and accept older heroes and heroines in movies, but in romance books? Not so much.

The average heroine in a romance is under thirty. (Older heroes are acceptable. Some are in their early forties.)

According to a 2015 Neilson study, forty-one percent of romance readers are ages forty-five-plus. I am one of those older readers. And I love to read about heroines and heroes who are closer to my age.

One of my favorite non-fiction books is Love Again. The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance by Eve Pell. It’s about late-in-life love: It’s growing, it’s everywhere, and it’s transformative. Falling in love and living happily ever after is an ageless state.

There are wonderful older heroines in the romance world. Just not enough.

One of my best-loved seasoned heroines is Bernadine Brown in Beverly Jenkin’s Blessings series which begins with Bring on the Blessings.

On Bernadine Brown's fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn't cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose. 

 I tore through the first five books in a week. I had to wait for the others to come out. The eighth book, Chasing Down A Dream, came out July 4th. I have almost finished it. I adore this series. 

Then there’s Elizabeth Peters and the intrepid Egyptologist Amelia Peabody whose career spans a thirty-nine year old period— 1884 through 1923. Amelia was an older spinster to begin with in Crocodile on The Sandbank. She and her beloved Radcliffe are a romance for the ages. The last book in the series, The Painted Queen, completed posthumously by Peters’ good friend, the brilliant Joan Hess, comes out in July. I can’t wait.

Nora Robert’s Black Rose has a forty seven year old heroine. I adore Nora Roberts and was pleased with the gift. I just finished re-reading it.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has a wonderful B Story about an older couple in Natural Born Charmer and another in This Heart of Mine. I don't want to admit how many times I read these two books. I will say They whetted my appetite for more books with older heroines.

Toni Morrison said “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

I took her advice to heart. I wanted to see older heroines, but I wanted the best of both worlds. 

In Time and Forever, two women in their sixties time travel to 1969. For a great deal of the book they are in their twenties even though they are actually in their sixties. But their happy ever after takes place in the present.


In my next book I decided to follow a secondary character in Time and Forever, Jeremy’s sister, Jennifer. I knew from the epilogue who Jen was in the present. I thought it might be fun to figure out how she got there.

Now I am one of those writers who starts with a glimmer of an idea and assumes the story will flow from that point. I knew Jennifer had three husbands because she remarks in the epilogue of Time and Forever, “Third time lucky.”


That sounded good to me.

I know that in real life happily- ever-after doesn’t have to start in your twenties. And it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. I love second chances. 

Maybe This Time starts with Jen’s forty-ninth birthday, a turning point for many women. I hope you will click the link and see if the beginning interests you.
I drew on my own acting experience for the theatre scenes. I was a stage actress long before I ever got a television role. I worked with Bette Midler in Hawaii, before she set out to conquer New York.
 In New York I worked with Raoul Julia and Ernie Sabella in the showcase production of the musical The Robber Bridegroom. Then with Barry Bostwick, Ernie Sabella and Larry Moss in the Broadway production of that same musical. I also got to work with Kevin Kline, Kathy  Bates and Barry Corbin, among others. Everyone but Raoul is still working and only getting better with age. Me too!

I’ve mentioned a few seasoned heroines who captured my heart. I know there are lots more. 
Do you have a favorite? Please share in a comment.
I am sure you recognize most of the actors in the collages. Here’s the key with their names and ages,

Left to right
Holly Hunter 59, Sandra Bullock 52, Viola Davis 51
Michelle Yeoh 50, Nicole Kidman 49 Salma Hayek 50
Jacklyn Smith 70, Demi Moore 54, Michelle Pfeiffer 59


Left to right
Sam Elliot 72, Colin Firth 56, Hugh Grant 56
Denzell Washington 52, Pierce Brosnan 64, Harrison Ford 71
Hugh Laurie 58, George Clooney 56, Robert Downey Jr. 52



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Maybe This Time Happy Birthday#Giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 8 comments
July 12 is my book birthday. Maybe This Time is now available on Amazon.
To celebrate I’m giving away seventeen 3.99 Amazon Gift cards. Why 3.99, you ask? Because that is what it would cost you to buy the book. Naturally I will be thrilled if you rush right out and click that Amazon buy button. But I also feel I want to give back to my readers.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In Maybe This Time I decided to follow a secondary character in Time and Forever, Jeremy’s sister, Jennifer. I knew from the epilogue who Jen was in the present. I thought it might be fun to figure out how she got there.
Now I am one of those writers who starts with a glimmer of an idea and assumes the story will flow from that point. I knew Jennifer had three husbands because she remarks in the epilogue of Time and Forever, “Third time lucky.”

That sounded good to me. I know that in real life happily- ever-after doesn’t have to start in your twenties. And it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. I love second chances.
Katharine Ross had four failed marriages before she met and married Sam Elliot at age 44. They are still beautifully in love today in their seventies.

My character, Jen had two failed marriages and had stopped looking for love.

I started the story with Jen’s forty-ninth birthday, a turning point for many women. I assumed she would be meeting her third husband—the happy-ever-after one.

But my characters kidnapped my story. I had no idea that Jen’s third marriage would be to her first husband and that they would take me on a ride through time to places I never dreamed of revisiting. When I realized one of those places was to the morning of 9/11, I almost stopped writing. I didn’t think I would ever want to revisit that memory.

But I couldn’t say no to the story. The characters in Maybe This Time spoke to my heart and I had to follow. Believe me, I was delighted when I made it through to the happily- ever-after.
I hope you will say yes and sample my story. Here’s the blurb and an excerpt.

Maybe This Time
A Second Chance Romance
Their Happily-Ever-After is over before it begins unless they can change time.

London 2001
Forty-nine-year-actress Jennifer Knight would rather eat worms than face her first husband. But when her niece Kat accidentally time travels them to 1988, she needs his help.
Computer guru, Lance Davies is more comfortable with machines than people. He never knew how to handle his beloved, mercurial Jen. But now her future self is here in front of him and he wants another chance.
Jen’s torn. Her traitorous body insists that home is in Lance’s arms, but her heart has trust issues
Can two people whose timelines are thirteen years apart find a future where they can be together?

Excerpt

Jen looked into the face of the man she’d adored since she was nine, and actively avoided for the last twenty years. Lance looked almost the same as the day they’d parted. A few more lines framed his hazel eyes, now sea-dark with concern. His brown hair showed no trace of gray. It was still too long, with the same stupid lock falling over his forehead. She automatically reached to brush it back. Stopped herself. Her throat was so dry. Where was a cough drop when you needed one? “You’ve aged well.” Jen’s knees buckled.
Lance kicked out a chair and sat, pulling her into his lap. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, we can fix it.”
His warm, strong hands sent shock waves shivering through her body. She shook her head mutely.
Lance’s voice sharpened. “Is it Jeremy? Kathryn? Has something happened to them?”
“Uncle Lance!” Kathryn stopped in the living room archway, eyes child-solemn. “Why are you hugging Aunty Jen?”
Jen slipped out of Lance’s arms and landed on the floor. Could this get any worse?
“Aunty Jen says you are a stupid head with a big brain and no feelings.”
Jen rose with all the dignity she could muster. “You shouldn’t repeat things grownups say, Kitty-Kat. It’s not polite.” She reached for the packet Mrs. Flannery left behind, willing her hands not to tremble. “Here are the papers, you came for. Nice to see you. Goodbye.”
Lance glanced from Kathryn to Jen. “Where’s Jeremy? I know he and Kitty-Kat went to Sussex. Why is she back without him, and what are you doing here?”
“We couldn’t get home, Uncle Lance. So we came here.” Kathryn scuffed her foot, now shod in a plastic Jelly shoe, against the wood floor. “I thought Jen would like the machine, but I don’t like being young again. My brain is too small. I want to go home.”
Lance’s hand tightened on the papers he held. “Kathryn,” he said carefully. “How old are you?”
“I’m nineteen and I want to go home.”
Lance catapulted out of the chair. “It worked. By all that’s good and beautiful, it worked. I didn’t think he could do it.”
“You knew? You knew what he was working on?”
Lance’s grin changed to the expressionless mask she used to hate so much. “Of course, I knew. I divorced you. Not your brother. I was helping him with the theory. He probably would have told you about it, had you been interested in anyone but yourself and your career.”
Jen resisted the urge to punch him. One of them reverting to childhood was enough. Too bad. Her boxing trainer said she had a fantastic right hook. She kept her tone smooth and even. “I don’t know when we are, but I turned forty-nine yesterday, Lancelot, and you don’t know half as much about me as you think you do. I am very interested in my niece, and she’s standing there listening to every word we say.”
Lance turned to Kathryn. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. Your aunty and I won’t fight anymore.” He crooked his little finger at Jen the way they used to do when they were children. “Pax?”
Resisting the temptation to break it, Jen hooked her little finger in his. “Pax,”
Kathryn curved her little finger around theirs. “Pax. Now can we get ice cream?”

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Maybe This Time, a Second Chance Romance is up for Pre-Sale

Posted by Susan J Berger on 5:21:00 PM with 4 comments
I am in Portage Michigan, awaiting the birth of my second book, Maybe This Time which is currently up for pre-sale on Amazon.

To encourage the birth process my publisher, Debby Gilbert, creator of Soul Mate Publishing, put up Time and Forever on Amazon as a freebee for July third thru 5th.

Last night I checked before bed and Time and Forever was #1 in Time Travel, #14 in Romantic Comedy and #10 is Whispersync (current audio-book price is 7.49 and the narrator, Stephanie Bentley is fabulous!) What a glorious moment.

In Time and Forever  two sixty-year-old women time travel to 1969 London and Los Angeles
#TimeTravel #Chicklit #2ndChanceRomance, 

The companion book is Maybe This Time 
Blurb:
Their Happily-Ever-After is over before it begins unless they can change time.

London 2001
Forty-nine-year-actress Jennifer Knight would rather eat worms than face her first husband. But when her niece Kat accidentally time travels them to 1988, she needs his help.
Computer guru, Lance Davies is more comfortable with machines than people. He never knew how to handle his beloved, mercurial Jen. But now her future self is here in front of him and he wants another chance.
Jen’s torn. Her traitorous body insists that home is in Lance’s arms, but her heart has trust issues
Can two people whose timelines are thirteen years apart find a future where they can be together?

Here's an excerpt.

Jen ran to the living room to retrieve the papers Mrs. Flannery was talking about. No way was she going to hang around waiting for He Who Must Not Be Named. The last person she ever wanted to see again was . . .
“Hello, Guinevere.
Jen froze at the sound of that well-loved, well-hated, husky voice. “It’s Jen. And don’t you forget it.” The words sounded far away in her head. “You didn’t knock.”
“I have a key. I’m helping Jeremy with a project he’s working on. He left me some papers. You’re supposed to be swanning it in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in New York. I wouldn’t have stopped by otherwise.”
Jen swayed. Her brain was on overload. Strong hands caught her and turned her around.
“What’s wrong? Are you sick?”
Jen looked into the face of the man she’d adored since she was nine, and actively avoided for the last twenty years. Lance looked almost the same as the day they’d parted. A few more lines framed his hazel eyes, now sea-dark with concern. His brown hair showed no trace of gray. It was still too long, with the same stupid lock falling over his forehead. She automatically reached to brush it back. Stopped herself. Her throat was so dry. Where was a cough drop when you needed one? “You’ve aged well.” Jen’s knees buckled.
Lance kicked out a chair and sat, pulling her into his lap. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, we can fix it.”
His warm, strong hands sent shock waves shivering through her body. She shook her head mutely.
Lance’s voice sharpened. “Is it Jeremy? Kathryn? Has something happened to them?”
“Uncle Lance!” Kathryn stopped in the living room archway, eyes child-solemn. “Why are you hugging Aunty Jen?”
Jen slipped out of Lance’s arms and landed on the floor. Could this get any worse?
“Aunty Jen says you are a stupid head with a big brain and no feelings.”
Jen rose with all the dignity she could muster. “You shouldn’t repeat things grownups say, Kitty-Kat. It’s not polite.” She reached for the packet Mrs. Flannery left behind, willing her hands not to tremble. “Here are the papers, you came for. Nice to see you. Goodbye.”
Lance glanced from Kathryn to Jen. “Where’s Jeremy? I know he and Kitty-Kat went to Sussex. Why is she back without him, and what are you doing here?”
“We couldn’t get home, Uncle Lance. So we came here.” Kathryn scuffed her foot, now shod in a plastic Jelly shoe, against the wood floor. “I thought Jen would like the machine, but I don’t like being young again. My brain is too small. I want to go home.”
Lance’s hand tightened on the papers he held. “Kathryn,” he said carefully. “How old are you?”
“I’m nineteen and I want to go home.”
Lance catapulted out of the chair. “It worked. By all that’s good and beautiful, it worked. I didn’t think he could do it.”
“You knew? You knew what he was working on?”
Lance’s grin changed to the expressionless mask she used to hate so much. “Of course, I knew. I divorced you. Not your brother. I was helping him with the theory. He probably would have told you about it, had you been interested in anyone but yourself and your career.”
Jen resisted the urge to punch him. One of them reverting to childhood was enough. Too bad. Her boxing trainer said she had a fantastic right hook. She kept her tone smooth and even. “I don’t know when we are, but I turned forty-nine yesterday, Lancelot, and you don’t know half as much about me as you think you do. I am very interested in my niece, and she’s standing there listening to every word we say.”
Lance turned to Kathryn. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. Your aunty and I won’t fight anymore.” He crooked his little finger at Jen the way they used to do when they were children. “Pax?”
Resisting the temptation to break it, Jen hooked her little finger in his. “Pax,”
Kathryn curved her little finger around theirs. “Pax. Now can we get ice cream?”
Lance drove them to Holby’s 1950’s Diner. Kitty-Kat had declared it her favorite place after Jeremy had taken her to see Back to the Future. They ordered Kathryn a hot fudge sundae and sent her off to play Holby’s vast selection of Arcade games.
Lance wrapped his hands around the mug of coffee he’d ordered. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Jen wished she didn’t know Lance so well. He was obviously torn between despising her and the attraction which sparked between them every time they were together. Until the last time.
“Kat said she had a birthday present for me and she took me to Jeremy’s lab, which, by the way, Jeremy never invited me to even though I asked what he was working on. I was quite prepared to show an intelligent interest.”
Lance’s expression said it all.
“Look, I know I’m not a genius, but I’m not stupid. I would have tried if either of you could have ever gotten past your incredibly superior attitudes.”
Lance ignored her perfectly justifiable complaint. “Tell me what happened.”
Deep breaths. That was the key. No use losing her temper. She reached for her inner Zen and held onto it during her factual recounting, right up to the moment she and Kat stepped through the door.
 “The street was full of people dressed as though they were going to a costume party. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Men wearing mullets. Possibly the worst haircut ever invented. I turned to make a joke about it to Kat, and child Kathryn was standing next to me.” Jen fought to keep her voice from shaking. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t know what year it is right now, and I have absolutely no idea how to fix this.”
 “Calm down.” Lance put his hand over hers and for once he didn’t sound superior. “It’s going to be okay.”
“I don’t see how.” Jen sniffled.
He handed her a handkerchief. “Tell me about the cards. What happened to them?”
 “Kathryn’s body shrank, but her clothes didn’t. She pulled up her jeans to look through the pockets, and the card blew into the street under a bus. I tried to get it, but it must have stuck to the bus’s tire.”
Lance’s voice sharpened. “You said there were two cards? What happened to the second one?”
“I don’t know. Maybe she left it in the door when we came through.”
“Here you go, love.” The server wearing a soda jerk’s paper cap set Kathryn’s sundae in front of Jen. Jen automatically dipped her spoon into the fudge sauce.
Lance’s lips curved into a wry smile. “Some things are immutable. I see you love chocolate as much as ever, Guinevere.” He turned to the server. “Bring us another sundae, please.”
“Stop calling me that.” Jen could feel her face growing warm. He shouldn’t have smiled at her. It did funny things to her insides. “Did we really travel back to the 1980s?”
“1988. Thursday, the thirty-first of March, to be precise.”
“By all means. Let us be precise.” Stop looking at him. Concentrate on the chocolate. “April Fool’s Day would have been more appropriate. I wish this were a joke.”
“This year April first is also Good Friday. That’s why Jeremy and Kathryn are in Sussex with your parents. You are in New York.”
Jen shuddered. “This is worse than those horror films you used to drag me to. 1988 of all times. Why would she bring me here?”
“I have no idea. The better question is why would you come?”

“I didn’t know what she was doing!” 
I am in Portage, Michigan for rest of July. Best things about Portage?  I get to play with my beautiful five-year-old granddaughter and with amazing son. Fireflies. And walks in the park just across Lover's Lane. I hope your Fourth is glorious.







Tuesday, June 27, 2017

RaeAnne Thayne's Serenity Harbor is a winner. #Giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 8 comments
Serenity Harbor, the latest entry in RaeAnne Thayne's Haven Point series came out today and I have a copy to giveaway. 
RaeAnne Thayne is always good reading, but this one's a real winner. Highly recommend.
I got a paperback ARC and it's up for grabs. Rafflecopter is at the end of this post. I use Rafflecopter because I have to email the winner and get a snail mail address. 

The link between former freewheeling spirit, Katrina Bailey and Computer-tech millionaire, Bowie Callahan, is the six-year-old brother Bowie never knew existed. Milo is nonverbal and in the autism spectrum.
Bowie desperately needs help caring for Milo until the autism specialist he's hired arrives.
Kat's only home for her sister's wedding, but Milo twines himself around her heartstrings at their first meeting in the produce section of the grocery store.
When Bowie offers her an outrageous amount of money to help out for three weeks she accepts because she needs the money to complete the adoption of the little girl she fell in love with in while working in an orphanage in Columbia.
Kat has no intention of allowing Bowie into her life no matter what sparks between them because she knows her judgment of men is flawed. Her life revolves around her goal of becoming three-year old Gabi’s new mother.
Bowie has no intention of getting involved with any woman. Since he escaped from a terrible home situation at thirteen his whole reason for being is his work. But he's finding it almost impossible to resist the sunshine that Kat is bringing into his and Milo’s world.
Against the background of Lake Haven Days and a wedding, two people who don’t know they are perfect for each other fight a losing battle to deny love.
I was completely absorbed in the back story of each of the protagonists. I don’t want to give it away because I hope you will read it for yourselves.

I have a nonverbal five year old granddaughter in the autism spectrum and I love the research that went into this book. It rings very true to life. Do any of you have children in the autism spectrum in your life.

Happy reading,  my friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway