Follow by Email

About Me

My photo
The stories here change from time to time. Please return to visit often!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thinking of Thanks

Having just passed Thanksgiving weekend, I've been pondering the many gifts of this past year. First I am grateful for family and friends, the lovely people who give my life meaning every day. My children are spread out across the continent, but I have a son close by who hosted us at Thanksgiving this year. Instead of spending two days in the kitchen, I contributed a few small items to the dinner, half of which were prepared by my sweet husband, who is a fine cook in his own right and always makes the lemon meringue pie (yum!). All that made for a lovely, relaxing holiday we enjoyed very much.

Though my offspring and their little spring-offs are all dealing with day-to-day problems and inconveniences, everyone is happy and healthy. That is one huge blessing and I'm grateful.

As an author I have also experienced much to appreciate in 2013. Here's a short list:

Books
Three new novels saw the light this year.  ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE appeared in June, a paperback release from Covenant Communications. My first two self-published, digital-only books appeared shortly thereafter, MAGGIE RISING in August and RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK in September. I always feel my time is well spent when I can see the results that clearly.

Agents
Jane Dystel and Miriam Goderich at Dystel-Goderich Literary Management may not understand everything that's happening in the current publishing upheaval (no one does), but they come about as close as is humanly possible. They're hard-working, dedicated to serving their authors, and well enough situated in the business (after being in business since 1986) that they have some real power in the publishing world. I'm grateful for the day I met Jane Dystel and delighted to have her and her agency on my team.

Readers
Guessing how many people have actually read my books is tricky since some people download a book and never read it while others buy one paper copy and circulate it to everyone they know before passing it on to a hospital or retirement home where it will be read until it falls apart. Still it's easy to see that the numbers are growing and the range is growing, too. I now have readers in places like India and Turkey. How cool is that?

Twitter
I'm grateful for TwitterPals and RTers. With more than 12,300 followers, I manage to get the word out when there's a new release, a sale, or something to celebrate. I'm also averaging about 14% retweeting on those messages, which I find positively thrilling.

Mostly I'm grateful for the fun I have when I listen to those voices in my head and let them take me to interesting, exciting places. Years like this make the writing worthwhile. Thanks to Janice and Alisa (you both know why!) and to all of you who have been part of it. My 2014 be even better for all of us.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 11 published novels now available for ebook readers. A 12th is scheduled for publication in June 2014. She lives in northern California with her husband of 43 years, a devoted old dog and two quirky cats. Her 22nd and 23rd grandchildren are expected next spring. She loves to hear from readers. Find her at www.susanaylworth.com (sign up for the newsletter too)susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.



Monday, November 11, 2013

A Nod to Fine Authors: Part Two

My last blog post looked at new authors I’ve discovered from reading e-books on my Kindle. I mentioned three, ending with the well-known author of PAY IT FORWARD, Catherine Ryan Hyde, who was new to me. I’d like to start with her again.

Catherine Ryan Hyde

As I mentioned before, I discovered Hyde when I read her book, WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. The day after losing his job and many of his coworkers in the collapse of the Twin Towers, Russell awakens to learn his mother has just passed on and he has inherited the care of his brain-injured brother, Ben. Although chronologically older, Ben is now much like a child and Russell must help him learn to live again. It’s both painfully raw and touchingly tender.

Having read (and thoroughly enjoyed) that first Hyde book, I picked up another. The title tells the story. SECOND-HAND HEART is indeed about a transplant and fans of RETURN TO ME will enjoy it, but it has some unexpected elements—and developments—that make it well worth reading. Most recently I read Hyde’s DON’T LET ME GO, a touching discussion of fear, courage, and the transformative power of a child. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Michaelene McElroy
When I saw the title, THE LAST SUPPER CATERING COMPANY, I wondered if I’d be comfortable with the story, but I downloaded it anyway. The fresh, appealing voice caught me within seconds and the quirky, I’ve-never-read-anything-like-it plot kept me fascinated. This is an odd book, but it’s a nice kind of odd. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Tracey Garvis-Graves
Ms. Graves debut novel, ON THE ISLAND, was a well-I-can-try-it experiment for me. Wow. I just recently reread the whole thing, start to finish—something I don’t do often since there are so many great books and so little time. This one swept me away.

Anna is 30 years old when the charter plane carrying her and 16-year-old T.J., the high school student she has been hired to teach over the summer, is downed in the Indian Ocean. They make it to a tiny, uninhabited island in the Indonesian archipelago as student and teacher. Three and a half years later, when helpers are rescuing survivors from the great tsunami of 2004, their relationship has changed. How did they survive on the island? And how will their tender new relationship survive when they return to the civilized world?

Don’t read this one if you’re squeamish, but if “painfully raw and touchingly tender” are your style, you’ll love it just as I did. Enjoy!

These are just a few of the many fine authors you can read on Kindle, Nook, I-Phones, computers and other mobile devices. If you are committed to paper-only reading, I'm sympathetic; there is nothing like turning the pages of a book. Yet these are inexpensive reads you can enjoy without getting a cramp in your forearm. Think about it, anyway.  :-)

Susan Aylworth is the author of 11 published novels now available for ebook readers. A 12th is scheduled for publication in June 2014. She lives in northern California with her husband of 43 years, a devoted old dog and two quirky cats. Her 22nd and 23rd grandchildren are expected next spring. She loves to hear from readers. Find her at www.susanaylworth.com (sign up for the newsletter too)susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Nod to Fine Authors

One of the joys of being a hybrid author (both traditionally and digitally published) is the fun of finding other new-to-me great authors to read. Today I'm eager to share some I have found by shopping widely in the world of the digitally-published.

Melodie Ramone
Melodie's book, AFTER FOREVER ENDS, is one of the most memorable I've read in a very long time. The love story of Sylvia and Oliver, if it were a movie, would likely be rated PG-13 for language and adult content, but I've read two dozen books I can barely remember since discovering this book and I still recall large chunks of this story in great detail. It was touching, "real" (in the sense of well, most of it could probably happen), and made me both laugh and cry out loud.

June Kearns
AN ENGLISHWOMAN'S GUIDE TO THE COWBOY has just the right touch of tongue-in-cheek humor. It's a clean, wholesome romance tossing a Victorian maid who believes she can handle anything into a situation which she clearly cannot manage at all. Thank goodness, June has also given her heroine a cowboy who takes pity on her situation and quickly learns to appreciate her courage. I had such a good time with this book!

Catherine Ryan Hyde
The author of PAY IT FORWARD was already well-known to many readers, but I discovered her when I read WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. Since then I've read several of her books and every one was a treat. She takes on some difficult topics, but she deals with them in touching and realistic ways. Most sensitive readers will enjoy her work.

These are just a few of the many great authors whose work is now available for reading on Kindle, Nook, I-Phones, computers and other mobile devices. If you are committed to paper-only reading, I'm sympathetic; there is nothing like turning the pages of a book. Yet these are inexpensive reads you can enjoy without getting a cramp in your forearm. Think about it, anyway.  :-)

Susan Aylworth is the author of 11 published novels now available for ebook readers. A 12th is scheduled for publication in June 2014. She lives in northern California with her husband of 43 years, a devoted old dog and two quirky cats. Her 22nd and 23rd grandchildren are expected next spring. She loves to hear from readers. Find her at www.susanaylworth.com (sign up for the newsletter too)susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Looking Forward with Hope (Creek)

An eighth book coming in the Rainbow Rock series (watch for DANNY'S GIRL), a second on the way for the Maggie Rising Case Files (title pending) and a life to maintain. You'd think I'd have plenty to do--and I do! Yet somehow in the middle of all this, my agent planted a seed which is growing into a whole new series. Sometime in 2014 it will bear its first fruit, a medical romance set in the fictional town of Hope Creek, California. Here's the town's story:

As the California Gold Rush drew to a close, a small party of miners found color in the Sierra foothills overlooking the Sacramento Valley. A few men filed claims on Last Hope Creek and were rewarded when they struck a rich vein. When even that played out, the Last Hope Mine closed, but the town surrounding it continued, driven largely by tourism in its four-block stretch of Old Town and visitors to the shored-up tunnel of Lost Hope Mine.

One other economic engine keeps the town alive: The Hope Creek Medical Center began in the late 19th century as a sanitarium for "consumption" victims, built around the area's small hot spring. It's now a large, modern special services hospital and regional trauma center. Most of the stories in this series will be centered at HCMC featuring its medical personnel. 

There's also a great, recurring character I'm already learning to love. A mysterious figure who appeared out of nowhere to open a "Beans and Brew" shop in Old Town, Madam Esmeralda sells coffee and tea, predicts the weather and presidential elections, and tells customers about their future love lives. As Hope Creek rumor has it, if Madam Esmeralda tells you about the coming thunderstorm or the next president, she'll be wrong, but if she predicts a romance in your future, you're already on your way down the aisle.

I'm looking forward to working with Caro and Sean, the orthopedic surgeon and trauma device sales rep who are the subjects of the first novel, and to an ongoing friendship with Madam Esmeralda. I'll share more about Hope Creek as the series develops. Stay tuned! 

Susan Aylworth is the author of 11 published novels now available for ebook readers. A 12th is scheduled for publication in June 2014. She lives in northern California with her husband of 43 years, a devoted old dog and two quirky cats. Her 22nd and 23rd grandchildren are expected next spring. She loves to hear from readers. Find her at www.susanaylworth.com (sign up for the newsletter too)susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Return to Rainbow Rock

It's been 18 years since RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, the first book in the Rainbow Rock series, was published as a hardcover Avalon romance. My then-editor loved it and asked to see another with the same setting and some of the same characters. Five more hardback Avalon novels followed making a total of six in the Rainbow Rock series, the last one out in 1999.

One day last fall I felt the sudden urge to go back to my favorite fictional town to see what's been happening since I was last there. I remembered Marcie Carmody and what a spoiled, bratty teen she was when she first came to Rainbow Rock in Book #4, A LITTLE NIGHT RAINBOW. What if she had grown up and finished high school in Rainbow Rock and then returned, sadder but wiser, several years later?

Since "what it?" is the core of almost every fictional story, I knew I had something to work with and when Ryan Fields showed up in my imagination, I knew where Marcie's story was headed. It seemed only appropriate to call the new book RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK since Marcie and I were both returning for the first time in years.

The seventh and newest book in the Rainbow Rock series, RETURN is now available. It's the first book in a whole new series all set in the same fictional town. Here is how it begins:


CHAPTER ONE
Late February

The sun was setting behind her, lighting the clouds ahead in delicate pastels that would have been beautiful on any other day. It was the kind of winter sunset tourists came to the desert to find, but Marcie Carmody only found it worrisome. “Dammit,” she muttered, slamming her hand against the steering wheel and pushing hard on the accelerator. It was bad enough to be crawling home broken and defeated. She didn’t want to have to call for rescue just because the lights on her old clunker had shorted out somewhere this side of San Bernardino.

She passed Joseph City on her way to Holbrook, grateful for light traffic on I-40. “Can’t you make it twenty more minutes?” she grumbled aloud. With luck, the miles would run out before the last of the light.

That was when she spotted the highway patrol car sitting under a billboard for the Sagebrush Trading Post: “See our Jackelope! Cold Cherry Cider!” As she passed, she glanced down at her speedometer and groaned to realize she was going some fifteen miles per hour above the limit. She wasn’t at all surprised to see the trooper pull in behind her and light her up. She ran a hand through her unruly auburn curls.“Dammit twice!” She slowed and pulled to the shoulder. “This is not my day. Or my week, month or year, for that matter.”
 
 
I hope you'll want to return to Rainbow Rock right alongside Marcie and me and I hope you enjoy coming "home" as much as I have.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 11 published novels, ten of which are now available for ebook readers. The 11th will be available before the end of September and a 12th is under contract. She lives in northern California with her husband of 43 years, a devoted old dog and two quirky cats. Her 22nd grandchild is expected next spring. She loves to hear from readers at www.susanaylworth.com, susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back from the Dead...

So I have to be honest: I didn't die. I just felt like it for a few weeks there. Blame it on heredity or misusing my good health when I was younger or whatever you like. The fact is I have weak, crumbly joints getting weaker by the day.

Last February I went to see the best knee doctor in the world (I hope!) for joint replacement surgery on my right knee. It was cake. I sailed through and was back to my normal exercise regimen within a month. That meant the left knee was going to be a cakewalk too, right?

Not so. It's now been six weeks and I probably have a couple more to go before I can even start rebuilding the old exercise regimen. Who knows why this one has been so much more difficult? If I complain about it to the surgeon or my physical therapist, the only answer I get is, "Every knee is different. Who knows why this one is tougher?"

It wasn't until today that I got up the energy to notice it's actually been a month since my last blog. My sincere apologies, folks. I may not be fully back in the saddle, but I'm calling myself 'back from the dead.' That makes for an interesting coincidence since one of the major characters in my newest story is literally back from the dead.

MAGGIE RISING has just recently gone live on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, Smashwords, and a variety of other ebook platforms. Here are some of the rave reviews it has already received:

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Pat
A great fun read, hard to put down. Maggie is believable as a mature-beyond-her-years high school senior who is trying to make tuition money as a psychic who doesn't believe in psychics. Until she starts getting visits from ghosts! When she tells the police what she knows, SHE gets arrested. What follows, and the different reactions of all the people around her, show a lot about human nature. In many ways the relationships are more important than the visits from the ghost. A fun and thoughtful read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing! August 25, 2013
I've enjoyed all of the Susan Aylworth's books I've read, and MAGGIE RISING is no exception. Maggie is a psychic, at least as much as anyone can be--she knows a few tricks. But when she's faced with real danger and a false murder accusation, she realizes she's much closer to the other side than she could have ever believed. The only problem is that it's pretty much impossible to tell the cops that a ghost has been talking to her. MAGGIE RISING is intriguing from the start, and I read it practically straight through (I did have to get some sleep at one point). Great characters, suspenseful plot, and Aylworth's talented writing makes for one fabulous read!

I'd love to see many more stars in Maggie's galaxy. In the meantime, the newest Rainbow Rock book is almost ready to go live . . . but more about that next week. Stay tuned: Like our former governor, I'll be back.  ;-)
Susan Aylworth is the author of 11 published novels, ten of which are now available for ebook readers. The 11th will be available before the end of September and a 12th is under contract. She lives in northern California with her husband of 43 years, a devoted old dog and two quirky cats. Her 22nd grandchild is expected next spring. She loves to hear from readers at www.susanaylworth.com, susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Dead -- Going Live!

Last entry I commented on two new books that are "coming attractions." One of them, MAGGIE RISING, is about to go live--which is a pretty funny joke when I think about it, since one of the main characters is a ghost.  The book begins like this:

On the last day of the year, I sat in my Great-Aunt Betty’s reading parlor staring at the framed story cloth on the wall. The embroidered figures showed the cycle of planting, harvest, and New Year in a Southeast Asian village. One figure, the “doctor” or shaman, told a different story. If I had never seen him, maybe I never would have been arrested for murder, spent time in jail, or befriended a ghost. Or I might have, anyway. It’s possible I was already on that path.

The story is about Maggie, a 17-year-old Chico (California) girl who does not believe in ghosts; ghosts, however, seem to believe in her. When the Chico High School homecoming queen goes missing, the police are certain she's just another run-away, but Maggie knows differently. Here's a bit of the scene that helps Maggie know. It occurs while she is sleeping:

I stood in the Children’s Playground next to Bidwell Presbyterian. I looked around, wondering how I’d gotten here and why I’d come. That’s when I noticed a pretty blonde girl watching me. She was leaning on the uprights for the swings, but as I looked her way she walked toward me. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her. I looked behind me to see if maybe her focus was actually directed elsewhere, but we were alone. As she came toward me, she gave a half-smile and asked, “Remember me?"



“You look familiar,” I answered, searching my memory.

“Lauren Hall,” she said. “I was in the same class as you, but at Chico High instead of Pleasant Valley.”

“Lauren Hall?” I didn’t yet remember her from high school, but I certainly remembered the name. “The missing Homecoming Queen?”

“The murdered Homecoming Queen,” she answered. “I met my murderer right here in Children’s Park during lunch last Wednesday.”

I swallowed, unsure how to speak to a murdered girl, let alone a murdered Homecoming Queen. “So…you’re dead?”

She rolled her eyes. “And everybody said you were smart.” She plunked down on the bench a little way from me.

The challenge is simple enough: How do two 17-year-old girls solve a murder when one of them is dead and the other is in jail, charged with her murder? I had great fun writing this one. You'll have great fun reading it, too! Watch for it to go live sometime later this week or early next. Thanks!


Susan Aylworth is a multi-published novelist who has worked with three major publishers: Harlequin/Silhouette, Avalon and Covenant Communications.  MAGGIE RISING, her 11th finished novel, is the first to be released as a digital-first publication. Find it soon on any popular digital book platform (Amazon, B&N.com, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.) In the meantime, you can read any of her first eight books in digital format or order the paper copies. She loves to hear from readers at susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Previews of Coming Attractions

Two new books out at once? When has that ever happened to me before? Umm... never? But it's happening now and I could hardly be more excited.  The final cover designs are still pending, but I have a mock-up for one of them. Here's the general look for my new YA paranormal detective/ghost story/murder mystery novel, MAGGIE RISING:



Pretty, huh? (I'm thrilled!) Below is the mock-up for the new Rainbow Rock book, Book #7, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK:



The painting is called "Rolling Clouds" and was painted by the same artist (Ken Spencer @ www.jkenspencer.com) who did the other Rainbow Rock covers. My lovely daughter-in-law, Stephanie Aylworth, did the cover design. The process is happening, the covers are looking good, and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Susan Aylworth is the author of 12 novels, the last two shown above. Most of them are currently available for digital download. She is delighted to hear from readers @ susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com or @SusanAylworth. Visit her web site at www.susanaylworth.com.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Big News This Week!

Wednesday night I finished the seventh Rainbow Rock book. Thursday morning I had a call from my agent. Two new books will be going live in August. Woo-hoo!

RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK features Marcie Carmody, who was a teenager when we met her in Book 4: A LITTLE NIGHT RAINBOW. She's older--and wiser--now, crawling home to Rainbow Rock after a broken relationship has left her devastated. Here's the opening to her story:


CHAPTER ONE

Late February

The sun was setting behind her, lighting the clouds ahead in delicate pastels that would have been beautiful on any other day. It was the kind of winter sunset tourists came to the desert to find, but Marcie Carmody only found it worrisome. “Damn,” she muttered, slamming her hand against the steering wheel and pushing hard on the accelerator. It was bad enough to be crawling home broken and defeated. She didn’t want to have to call for rescue just because the lights on her old clunker had shorted out somewhere this side of San Bernardino.

She passed Joseph City on her way to Holbrook, grateful for light traffic on I-40. “Can’t you make it twenty more minutes?” she grumbled aloud. With luck, the miles would run out before the last of the light.

That was when she spotted the Highway Patrol car sitting under a billboard for the Sagebrush Trading Post: “See our Jackelope! Cold Cherry Cider!” As she passed, going some fifteen miles per hour above the limit, she wasn’t at all surprised to see the trooper pull in behind her and light her up. She ran a hand through her mop of unruly auburn curls.
            “Dammit twice!” She slowed and pulled to the shoulder. “This is not my day. Or my week, month or year, for that matter.”

                               
MAGGIE RISING is my first YA novel (first detective/ghost/paranormal story, too) which will also be "going live" in August. You may already have met Maggie. Here's the beginning of her story:


CHAPTER ONE

 

On the last day of the year, I sat in my Great-Aunt Betty’s reading parlor staring at the framed story cloth on the wall. The embroidered figures showed the cycle of planting, harvest, and New Year in a Southeast Asian village. One figure, the “doctor” or shaman, told a different story. If I had never seen him, maybe I never would have been arrested for murder, spent time in jail, or befriended a ghost. Or I might have, anyway. It’s possible I was already on that path.

*          *          *
Early October

            “So, are you really a psychic?”

The girl at the counter looked like so many others I’d seen since hanging my shingle next to Aunt Betty’s last summer. I wanted to answer, Hey, look: You came here because the sign says Psychic Readings. What do you expect? Instead, I gave her my wisest, most knowing smile while sizing her up.


Look like fun? Stick around. There's much more fun to come. 

Susan Aylworth is the author of nine published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her newest book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, was printed in June by Covenant Communications. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series, and MAGGIE RISING will be #11.  Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fun Summer Reading

Summer is a GREAT time for some lazy reading--and maybe some yummy ZUCCHINI PIE. If you've been following this blog, you will recognize the reference to my newest (and 9th) traditionally published novel, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE. (NOTE: You can read the whole first chapter FREE by clicking on the link at right.)

You can find ZUCCHINI PIE at the publisher's web site, www.covenant-lds.com. Covenant has also made my book part of an email blast you can see here. The blast includes a FREE book by Anita Stanfield and various new works by popular Covenant authors, including Marlene Bateman. You can see the covers of all these new books and read (free) the first chapter of each when you click here.

My publisher describes ZUCCHINI PIE like this:
When Karen Burnett receives word that 100-year-old Granny Adelaide is fading fast, she and her husband rush to the hospital to say their good-byes. As the end draws near, Granny reveals her dying wish: she wants each member of her fragmented family present at her funeral, as well as at a dinner featuring nostalgic family foods. In her last breaths, she calls upon Kare, to carry out this seemingly insurmountable task. With cherished recipes in hand and a determination to follow through with her promise, Karen sets Granny’s plan in motion. Karen’s husband, Tom, however, is less than enthusiastic about his grandmother’s meddling. He hasn’t seen his father—the man who abandoned Tom–his mother, and younger siblings in decades, and the years have done nothing to diminish his bitterness. As the day of the funeral approaches, Tom must decide: will he allow himself to be consumed by his anger, or will he embrace the potential for peace? Zucchini Pie is a heartfelt novel of connection: of a struggling family and the food that one wise old woman trusts will bring them back together.
The artists at Covenant gave me a cute cover. I include it below, side by side with the more intense cover of Marlene Bateman's book MOTIVE FOR MURDER, also new in June.

  

Here's the publisher's description of MOTIVE:

Meet Erica Coleman: a gifted and quirky private investigator with a penchant for sleuthing and a passion for chocolate. Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But a mere day into her idyllic vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed      with a shocking discovery: the body of an unknown man on the driveway. A failed second homicide attempt hits even closer to home when Wendy’s fiancé barely survives poisoning. There’s no way to sugarcoat it—a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion. 
Unsettled by the proximity of foul play, Wendy asks Erica to investigate. Erica is convinced that the near double-murder was no coincidence, so she accepts her friend’s request—with her skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake. But as she sifts through mounting evidence, one thing becomes clear: everyone had a reason for wanting both men dead. And as the plot thickens, it appears that Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew . . .
If you like mysteries, you're likely to love Erica and the mess in which she finds herself. The tension begins immediately, as shown by these first lines:

The atmosphere was tense as the audience collectively held its breath,
waiting, waiting, waiting. Although the water was still, everyone knew big
things were going on below the surface. Something riveting was about to
happen. The wait seemed to last forever. Then the water suddenly split,
and a huge, shining, black and white creature exploded into the air.
 
Shamu.  
Hundreds of cameras clicked, and applause erupted throughout the
stadium.
 
As gravity asserted itself, the whale fell back into the water.
For Erica Coleman, it was one of the high points of the show at
SeaWorld. 

I invite you to read the first chapters of both my book and Marlene's. Find mine in the link at right or find them both here. Then when your order arrives, sit back and enjoy some lazy summer reading, our treat!

Susan Aylworth is the author of nine published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her newest book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is out this month from Covenant Communications. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Reviews for ZUCCHINI PIE

New Info! Would you like to read the opening chapter of ZUCCHINI PIE? Click on the top link on the right. It's all there in black and white. Enjoy!

   *                          *                          *                         *                            *                               *

ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE is new this month and it's already getting some positive attention. "Shauna" wrote this 5* Goodreads review:

Families, Funerals, and Food...
Can it get any better than that?

Granny Adelaide is dying...
Her last, final wish?
To have a family reunion as part of her funeral, including not only the family that was split apart decades earlier, but to also include nostalgic family foods. ...

As Karen and her family put this unusual funeral together hearts will be healed, family secrets will be put to rest and new life will be revealed.

A tender book of feelings, grieving, forgiving, and accepting.
And of course the power of food....
Recipes included at the end of each chapter!
A WONDERFUL read!

Thanks so much, Shauna! You saw it just as I hoped and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Another rave review came from Kathy Gordon, the Managing Editor at Covenant, in the letter she sent with my publishing contract: 

"I love this book! I can only imagine what fun you had with your imaginary family romping about in your head as you were conceptualizing and writing this book. I'm confident it will 'speak' to many--too many of us labor under the misconception that everyone but us has a perfect family, and we are somehow the misfits in society. ... I'm sure it will be a healing read that will bring balance and comfort to many."

I love Kathy and I'm grateful for her praise, but it wasn't always fun to have the Burnetts "romping about" in my mind. Some of the issues are tough, and some of my characters don't deal with them well. Then again, real families are like that, aren't they?

You can find ZUCCHINI PIE at the publisher's web site. Covenant has also made my book part of an email blast you can see here. The blast includes a FREE book by Anita Stanfield and new work by Sarah Eden, M.R. Durbin, and others. I recommend Marlene Bateman's MOTIVE FOR MURDER with its quirky investigator and interesting premise. You can see the covers of all these new books and read (free) the first chapter of each when you click here, or read the first chapter of my new book on the additional page marked "Chapter 1" on the right.

Summer is a GREAT time for some lazy reading--and maybe some yummy ZUCCHINI PIE. Enjoy!


Susan Aylworth is the author of nine published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her newest book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is out this month from Covenant Communications. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.







Saturday, June 22, 2013

Can the Burnetts be fixed?

Last week's post asked the question, "What recipe can you use to mend a broken family? What recipe, indeed?" That is the major question to be answered in my new release, just out this month from Covenant Communications. It's a good question, but just asking it made me feel like the lead-in to an afternoon soap opera, or the old skit from Sesame Street that ends by asking, "And what about Naomi?" Ah, they just don't make TV like they used to!  ;-)

Last week also introduced the recipe for Emily's Zippy Zucchini Pie, the recipe from which the book derives its title: ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE. Today I'm sharing the recipe from the beginning of Chapter 12, appropriate for the produce available now. Enjoy!

BERRY GRAPEFRUIT SALAD

INGREDIENTS:
Bibb lettuce
watercress
2 avocados; seeded, peeled, and sliced
2 C. grapefruit sections
1 C. fresh raspberries
½ C. fresh blackberries or blueberries
Prepared sweet vinegar and oil dressing*
DIRECTIONS:
Line serving platter or individual salad plates with lettuce and watercress. Arrange avocado and grapefruit over greens in a tight pattern. Scatter berries over the top and sprinkle with dressing.
 
* SWEET VINEGAR AND OIL DRESSING
INGREDIENTS:
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
¼ C. cooking oil (olive oil does not work as well)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 drops Tabasco sauce
½ tsp. salt
Dash of black pepper
 DIRECTIONS:
Mix oil, vinegar, and sugar thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix again. Chill. Mix once more before using. Drizzle while still well mixed.


 
Susan Aylworth is the author of nine published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her newest book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is out this month from Covenant Communications. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What recipe can mend a broken family?

What recipe can you use to mend a broken family? What recipe, indeed? That is the major question to be answered in my new release, just out this month from Covenant Communications. The book is a novel about the Burnetts, a family much like yours, but including a few problems your family may not have experienced. Each chapter begins with a recipe and today I am sharing the recipe for Emily's Zippy Zucchini Pie, the one from which the book derives its title: ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE.  Enjoy!
 

Emily’s Zippy Zucchini Pie
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ C. canola oil
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 4 C. shredded zucchini
  • ¼ C. chopped, seeded jalapeño pepper
  • ¼ C. finely chopped onion
  • ½ C. shredded cheddar/jack or pepper jack cheese
  • 1 deep dish unbaked pie shell
Directions
1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, oil, salt, and pepper.
2. Add the zucchini, jalapeño, and onion; stir to coat.
3. Stir in cheese
4. Pour into pie shell.
5. Bake at 375 for 18–20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serves eight.

Variations
For a less zippy pie, eliminate the jalapeño and add 2 tsp. dill weed. You can also use a mix of squashes including zucchini, yellow crookneck, or any other summer squash varieties. Replace chopped onion with green onions, leeks, or scallions. Try different flavors of cheese. This is an excellent way to get non–vegetable lovers to enjoy the season’s freshest produce.


Please feel free to enjoy the book as well.  ;-)





Susan Aylworth is the author of nine published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her newest book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is out this month from Covenant Communications. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

NEW RELEASE!

This week we celebrate the release of Book #9 titled ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE. Although the book is put out by an LDS press and the characters are "Mormon," the problems are common to many families of any background. The book is full of fun and interesting recipes, but the main question is this: What recipe can you use to mend a broken family? I am pleased with this book and encourage you to check it out.

I have a special deal to offer anyone who wants to take me up on it: ZUCCHINI PIE is new from Covenant Communications. Find it @ http://www.covenant-lds.com/ZucchiniPieGrannysRecipeforLifeSoftCover

If you choose to buy between now and July 31, and if you send me a digital picture of your receipt (susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com), I will send you the files for my first TWO Rainbook Rock books--FREE. (Note: The first one is already available free @Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc., so let me know if you just want Book #2.)

Told in four perspectives, this book looks at a fine, healthy LDS family with "issues" from the past.  Please feel free to pass this info along to any readers you know who may be interested.

Thanks, y'all! You're the greatest. - Susan




http://www.covenant-lds.com/ZucchiniPieGrannysRecipeforLifeSoftCover

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sorrows and Sub-texts

Recent posts have been about my book ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE,  coming from Covenant Communications next month. I've been sharing differing points of view from the Burnett family: Tom, Karen, Emily . . . This excerpt comes from a section narrated by Stephanie, the family's college-aged daughter. See if you can read the sub-text in the passage:




STEPHANIE BURNETT

            I slid into the booth at my favorite frozen yogurt shop, looked at my watch, and noted it was a couple of minutes fast according to the clock on the wall. A girl in an apron came by to remind me to place my order at the counter and I told her I was waiting for someone. Just then I saw Jessica at the entrance and jumped up with a grin.  

            Jess held out her arms for a hug as I drew near. I was grateful. It had been a while since we’d seen each other, and well, I wasn’t sure how happy she’d be about this meeting.  

            We hugged and then turned to the counter. “Order whatever you like,” I told her, quickly adding, “My treat.”  

Jess looked wary. “That’s not necessary, Steph. I can buy my own yogurt.”  

“I know you can, but you’re the one doing me a favor. Let me get this for you.”  

Jessica gave me a long, appraising look, but then she smiled. “Okay,” she answered. “Thanks.”  

We placed our orders and went to the booth I had chosen. It was the one we always preferred, back when we came here as a group of roommates, back when Jessica and Megan, Allie and I all lived together and occasionally came here for a cheap outing, back before . . .  

“We heard about your grandma,” Jessica said, derailing my thought train just when it might have crashed on its own. “Are you doing okay?” The expression on her face had a whole subtext written in the worry lines.  

“Yeah,” I said. “It was my great-grandmother actually, my dad’s Granny Adelaide. We’ll all miss her something awful, but she was more than a hundred years old. We couldn’t keep her forever.”  

“No, I guess not,” Jess said. Then she added, “This wasn’t your grandmother who had the, uh, problems?”  

“No. That was my Grandma Judith, my dad’s mom. She’s been gone for a long time. In fact, I don’t remember much about her—except for the problems.”  

“That’s what I thought, but Allie said—” She cut the thought off quickly, looking away, looking chagrined.  

I swallowed. “How is Allie?”  

“She’s good. She said to tell you she’s sorry about the loss in your family.”  

I gave Jess a long, long look. “Did she really say that, Jess, or are you just being diplomatic again?”  

Jess gave me an earnest smile. “She really did, Steph. She said she wanted you to know that she’s sorry about your grandma and she hopes you’re . . . doing okay.”  

“I am,” I answered, and then I realized I had been rubbing my fingers over the raised scars on my left arm, between my wrist and elbow. I sighed and dropped my arms to my sides. “I’m sad, but I’m okay.”

Susan Aylworth is the author of eight published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her ninth book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is coming from Covenant Communications in June. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Romance and Comfort Food

My first eight novels fit tidily into the romance genre, but when I decided to write the story of the Burnett family, I knew it wouldn't--fit, that is. Now called ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, the story will be coming out in June, published by Covenant Communications. It tries to answer the question of how to repair a broken family.
That doesn't mean it won't have romantic moments, like this excerpt from Chapter 17, written in the point of view of family dad, Tom Burnett:

I filled a glass with milk, got out a fork, and sat down at the kitchen counter. That’s when I heard the bedroom door open and knew Karen was about to catch me red-handed, eating red beans and rice in the middle of the night—a violation of a small promise I’d made to myself to avoid eating between dinner one evening and breakfast the next day. Well, at least I wasn’t breaking a promise to anyone else. If my dad’s betrayal had done nothing else, it had taught me to keep the important promises, the ones I made to others.
“Hi, honey,” Karen said, her voice smoky with sleep.
“Hi, yourself.” I lifted my fork defiantly. Just let her say something.
“Couldn’t sleep, huh?” she asked. She must be postponing the inevitable assault on my dignity.
“No. You either?”
“I slept pretty well for a while.” She looked at the bowl of hot food and I knew what was coming next, but my sweetheart surprised me. “I don’t suppose you have any more of that?”
“Um, uh, no. No, this is the last.”
She sighed. “Pity. I’ll find something else then.”
I watched as she opened the refrigerator and started looking through its contents. “No comments about eating in the middle of the night?”
She turned and gave me a sweet, sleepy half smile. “Sometimes it’s good to break the rules,” she said. “Frankly, this seems like a good time for some comfort food, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I thought so.” I took another bite of the spicy leftovers. Comfort. That was it, exactly. Well, at least Karen understood that part.
“Oh, yeah. This will do it.” She came out of the refrigerator with her arms loaded and calmly went about making a sandwich from Friday’s meatloaf and two slices of wheat bread, spreading mayonnaise and catsup with abandon. “Yum, this looks great!” she announced as she put the condiments away and started toward the counter to sit beside me.
“You’re not obsessing about the calories?”
“Calories, schmalories. We worry about them all day every day. A little letdown under these rather extreme conditions might just help us remember we’re still alive and still need a little peace and comfort where we can find it—even in food.” She took a big bite. “Ummmm, that’s good!”
“Glad you’re enjoying it.”
We sat for a while, eating side by side in companionable silence. A few minutes later, my bowl was empty and Karen’s sandwich gone. I finished the last of my milk and—I couldn’t help it--I burped loudly. “Oops! Sorry. I guess the old stomach doesn’t necessarily agree with your philosophy about midnight comfort food.”
Karen rubbed her own middle. “My old stomach isn’t all that happy about it, either,” she said. “I think I’m going to help myself to some antacid. Shall I get some for you too?”
“Yeah. Thanks.”
She brought over a bottle of peppermint-flavored tablets and we sat quietly, chewing. In another minute, even that was gone. A moment of strained silence followed.
“Well? What’s next?” I asked her. “Do you think you can go back to sleep now?”
Karen arched one eyebrow. Her voice was smoky again, but not with sleep. “Come with me and I’ll help you sleep too,” she offered.
She always looked so sexy when she grinned like that. I couldn’t help remembering all the reasons why I loved this difficult, amazing woman. “You’ve got a deal,” I told her.
I put my arm around my sweetheart and led her back to our bed.

Susan Aylworth is the author of eight published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her ninth book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is coming from Covenant Communications in June. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Observing Death

As I've mentioned here before (probably too often; sorry!), my book ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE is coming out in June, published by Covenant Communications. It's unusual for me because it's written from four different viewpoints. This excerpt comes from the viewpoint probably closest to my own, that of family mom Karen Burnett. Here she narrates her recollection of the hours after the passing of her husband's grandmother, Granny Adelaide.


I poured glasses full of chilled lemonade, moving strictly on autopilot. We had put away all the food that Emily and I had prepared for dinner because no one felt like eating, yet we all knew we needed something. I warmed some of the sourdough rolls leftover from last night’s dinner and asked Steph to whip up some lemonade. Tom said a quick blessing and we all began to eat, silently, everyone moving as if caught in slow motion.

The scene at the hospital was surreal. Since I became the president of our church Relief Society a couple of years ago, I’d seen death, yet it never failed to amaze me. When we visited with Granny that afternoon, she had looked about as ill as anyone I’ve ever seen. Then when we went back to the hospital that evening, she was no longer there. No, they hadn’t yet removed Granny’s body, but Granny was no longer there. I don’t know how anyone, especially any health professional, could see that change over and over and over again and still have any doubt that there is an eternal spirit, a life source that departs when death comes. The body didn’t even look much like Granny anymore. Still I felt her warmth, her humor, and I knew she wasn’t far away. I hoped she wasn’t getting too big a kick out of her final joke on us.

Susan Aylworth is the author of eight published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her ninth book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is coming from Covenant Communications in June. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.