Have a purrfect time …

Pumpkin Carving for Kittens

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A Halloween story just for you


I’ve been playing around with a new story called, Persuade Me Again. Just in time for Halloween.

Read here on JSI, or on Beyond Austen.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A one-trick pony meets a new plot arc

Photo Credit: Nicky Reyes (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit: anyjazz65
(Creative Commons)

That’s me, a One-Trick-Pony writer. Meaning that I am skilled in only one style, namely, lighthearted historical romance.

And it’s time to change that up. That’s been my struggle with drafting a new Mercy’s Embrace novel. Elizabeth and Admiral McGillvary are together—hooray! But happily-ever-after does not a story make.

So for this year’s NaNoWriMo I’m going for lighthearted gothic. And mystery. And thriller-adventure. And, yes, romance too. Because after all, this is Elizabeth and Patrick.

Photo Credit: BdwayDiva1 (Creative Commons)

A gothic rose?
Oh, the drama!
Photo Credit: BdwayDiva1 (Creative Commons)

“It’s only a draft” I’ll be telling myself as I write. But after a long hiatus—can it be five years? —it will be wonderful to work with these beloved characters again. And a few new ones, like Ronan McGillvary’s villainous mother, the Contessa.

If all goes well, a new Mercy’s novel will be in the works. It’s about time, right? And then I won’t be a One-Trick-Pony writer any more.

I’m in for one intense month. Wish me luck!

Posted in Laura Hile, Mercy's Embrace, NaNoWriMo | 4 Comments

I Had to Laugh … Selah Says

Selah Says ...

Selah Says …


Selah and I were talking about Toy Story the other day, and she said, “some days the heart just hurts, but when the heart’s glad, you just have to play the game.”

I don’t think I could have put it better myself.

Take care.



Posted in Humor, I Had to Laugh, Selah Says, Susan Kaye | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Tell Me What You Really Think

Sincerely Yours  Robin Helm

Sincerely Yours
Robin Helm

Meredith Esparza of Austenesque Reviews posted her thoughtful four-star review of Sincerely Yours yesterday. Her review was a good one, in that she presented her likes and dislikes in a very fair manner. It’s wonderful to me that she likes more than she dislikes about the book. Thank you, Meredith!

I don’t expect everyone to like everything about my books. In fact, I would be surprised if they did. I know that my books can be controversial. All of them have a religious component and a paranormal element. The Yours by Design series (Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours) features a time-switch between Regency Darcy and modern Darcy.

I was particularly interested in the comments. More people were concerned about the religious aspect than about the time switch. Accidentally Yours (the first book) is much more “Christian” than are the other two books (Sincerely Yours and Forever Yours) in the series. I established modern Will’s Christianity in the the first book, so I felt no need to beat it to death in the other two books. Modern Will’s grandmother was dying. Losing his last family member caused him to lean heavily upon his faith. He was in despair. People of faith respond to such gut-wrenching agony in one of two ways: they will either draw closer to God or they’ll turn from Him entirely. Will reacted in the first way – he sought God. When he switched places in time with Regency Darcy, Will was in a place where everything was unfamiliar to him. Again, he sought the comfort of the only thing in his life that was stable and real at that point – his faith.

It amuses me that so many readers prefer the jerk Darcy (who grows into a good guy) to the spiritual Darcy, but it shouldn’t. After all, I see that in real life on a daily basis.

I’m thinking of two high-profile men I know who have the same job. One is a criminal, though he has never been convicted of anything since charges against him are always dropped. He has raped, stolen, cheated, been obscene in public, and destroyed private property, but people idolize him because he gives them what they want. He has received national, prestigious awards. The other man is a Christian. He works hard, goes to church, does good works, stays humble, and pleases God rather than all men. Guess which one is more popular? Michel Jackson meme

I’m not at all upset by the controversy my books create. People are talking about them, and to me, that’s a good thing. At least I’m not being ignored.

I think I’ll make my next Darcy a Christian politician. Hand me that popcorn.

Posted in Accidentally Yours, Modern culture, Reviews, Robin Helm, Science Fiction, Sincerely Yours, What I have learned about being a Novelist, Yours by Design | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

I Had to Laugh … Fishing and Cutting Bait

DSC_3951_Iván_Melenchón_Serrano_MorgueFile - CopyIt’s official. I am now old and my church doesn’t care what I think. Not that my opinion has been keeping the old girl afloat all these years, but it’s now official.

We have new décor at our church and I don’t like it. I’m not going to describe it because to do so would bring out my long knives. Just let me quote Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner character from “The Avengers,” “Well, this is pretty … terrible.

I’m not going to be one of those people who huffs out the doors over the color of the new carpet or choir robes. By-the-bye, for over 30 years I’ve heard about those sorts of epic struggles in the Body of Christ and have yet to see one. Pettiness has been a feature of every church I’ve attended but most splits  have been ignited by differing doctrine, and once theology was the detonator.

Anyway, for a long time I’ve disliked the music at our church. Church music has been shifting for a while and I haven’t shifted with it. My problem is that I am not musical. I have little in the way of rhythm, and cannot carry a tune. I forget the words unless they are printed out and I’m just too busy actually thinking about the words and their meaning to try and keep time. Let’s just say that praise and worship for me is difficult. We have never been a hymnal kind of church—those I do well with, figures—and so have always used projections systems. Over a year ago  we started using backgrounds with motion. These were a problem for me as my eyes are lousy, which means the movement plays tricks with the lettering. I was/am also distracted trying to find the point at which the movement starts to loop. This coupled with the Jesus-is-my-boyfriend nature of current worship music, and you see I’m really in trouble.

LightsBack to the décor. With the lights–yes, there are lights–and new textured surfaces, there is even more to see. The lights on the new features stay on during the sermon so I have even more to distract me.

Here’s the crazy, upside-down part of this: our pastor’s sermons are excellent.

Most people have complaints about dry, irrelevant preaching. Not so here. I have nothing negative to say in that regard.

My problem is the the falderal that surrounds the sermons. For me, it’s like being a fan of chocolate and only being able to get liver-wrapped truffles. Ugh.

We have no plans to leave because every church has it’s problems and I am comfortable with this set and have no interest in getting used to those of others.

My daughter just pointed out some wisdom that very much applies to my situation: “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert (distract)  me I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.” – Jane Austen.

I am famous for saying you learn the most from reading badly written books. When reading a bad book you learn what not to do with characters and plot, you learn what you really dislike in storytelling, and when there is a good turn-of-phrase it stands out brilliantly. I suppose I should be prepared to learn what really matters to me in a church setting. I think I’m going to be learning and laughing  a lot.

Take care.

Posted in Challenges, Eeewww, Help me!, Susan Kaye | Tagged , | 13 Comments

If Darcy Played Football . . .

TheUnitedStatesofCollegeFootball-1For the past three years, I’ve been very interested in football. I’ve read everything I can find on it, and I keep up with the college teams, particularly the ones in the SEC. My friends think it’s all hysterically funny, because I’ve never had any interest in football before. I’ve always preferred soccer to football, and my girls played volleyball, basketball, and softball. I kept books and stats, or served in coaching or assistant coaching capacities so that I could travel with their teams. I also kept books and stats for soccer, boys’ basketball, and baseball. During those years, I was the same way about those sports that I am about football now. It’s sort of a hobby for me.

Eric Decker, formerly of the University of Minnesota and now a wide receiver for the New York Jets, has the Darcy looks.

Eric Decker, formerly of the University of Minnesota and now a wide receiver for the New York Jets, has the Darcy looks.

I’ve never been good at any sport. I just don’t have the athletic gene, and I have to know people who are playing for me to be truly interested in the sport. (My family tends to be more creative and arty. I suppose we have more of that genetic material.)

One day, I’m going to write a story with football as the background. It’s a violent game played by alpha males. What would you think of a football playing Darcy? I’ve done too much research on this and attended too many games to let the experience go to waste. What position should he play? Offense or defense? I’m thinking either a quarterback or a wide receiver. Ideas?

Posted in Robin Helm | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

My un-sorry hired help

Can you blame me? It's like prison in that purse.

Can you blame me? It’s like prison in that purse. Let me out! Let me out!

I write historical fiction but I live in an age of automation. Which is absolutely wonderful because…

I don’t have to deal with the drama that comes with hired help. Or so I thought.

Because I DO have hired help. It’s just that my workers are not human.

Electronic gadgets are supposed to be “seen and not heard,” right? Lately mine have been letting me down.

Are they sorry for the trouble they cause? Ha, not on your life.

And I lose my work. Sigh.

Like it’s MY fault that Laura loses her work?

Today I’m sharing caught-in-the-act photos. A furry friend would be more trouble, but his “I’m sorry” picture is so much cuter.

See me rock the adorable vibe.

Ha, see me rock the adorable vibe.

But hey, I'm like 50 years old. (and I'm not THIS far off)p

But hey, I’m, like, 50 years old.
(And no way am I THIS far off.)

Not every cute pet is sorry...

Ah, but not every cute pet is sorry

Posted in Laura Hile, Oh my, What the ...? | 7 Comments

I Had to Laugh … Cloud Cuckoo Land, Storm Cloud Edition

DSC_3951_Iván_Melenchón_Serrano_MorgueFile - CopyThey’re b-a-c-k. The hackers are back. The stars are back. While war breaks out worldwide, and out breaks of disease grow ever larger, the stars of Hollywood continue to be plagued with the embarrassment of private pictures being released to the WWW.

The perennial favorite, Jennifer Lawrence has finally weighed in. Yeah, I too am relieved,  because, no doubt like you, I’ve been holding my breath this entire time awaiting the proclamation.

imrs.phpHere it is:

Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame. Even people who I know and love say, ‘Oh, yeah, I looked at the pictures.’ I don’t want to get mad, but at the same time I’m thinking, I didn’t tell you that you could look at my naked body.”

It’s a nicely crafted statement. I hope she wrote it herself because it would show she’s a woman who can put words together, not just parrot them when she’s paid.

Let me assure Jennifer, and the rest of you, I haven’t perpetuated a sexual offense. I haven’t looked at any of her photos, or the photos of others who were hacked.

And here’s why: When I joined the Air Force in 1977 I went from complete bathroom privacy to showering with 30 other women every day. At the time, “the showers” were lined with ugly poo brown tile, a sitting area with slat benches like a swimming pool might have, and an area with eight shower heads surrounded by flimsy white plastic curtains that flew around from the water pressure. No stalls, no shower doors, no privacy. I learned that while the aesthetics of women’s bodies varies hugely, the basic components are the same.

And the other reason I haven’t perpetuated a sexual crime is that I don’t think one occurred.

I’m not a familiar with the legal definition of a sex crime. But, I would hate to think the justice system is so loosy goosy that a person who has hands (maybe multiple sets) laid upon them, their clothes ripped away, exposed to ridicule and violence, perhaps beaten, spit upon, concussed, and then left injured enough to require stitches, hospitalization, or worse, are put into the same legal category as someone who had files stolen remotely and therefore their privacy breached. I can’t look at the person who is battered and bruised and say, “Buck up, Jennifer Lawrence had essentially the same thing happen to her.”

It’s always humiliating when we guard something, keep it private and out of sight only to have it made public against our will. In this case it’s embarrassing photographs and the presumptions of their viewers. Sometimes we ruin our own reputation by letting people see the real us, unfiltered. The revelation that we are more than we normally allow people to see is always startling. None of it is comfortable.

Maybe in this case sexual harassment can be claimed. I’m not sure. All I know is that in our world where everyone gets to to define terms, proportion has gone out the window and if we aren’t careful our desire to be sympathetic will destroy reason and discernment.

Take care

Posted in Deep Stuff, I Had to Laugh, Life and Times, Susan Kaye | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Not Too Hot

Today is October 7. As I mused on that, I was reminded of a quote from that classic movie (and perennial favorite at our house) Miss Congeniality. One of the movie’s funniest moments came when Stan Fields asked Miss Rhode Island (Cheryl) her interview question in the Miss United States pageant. Check out her answer.


This is that sort of day in the South. After I wasted several minutes of my life and a few hundred brain cells pondering that, I began to think – not always a good thing, but I did it anyway. I asked myself, “Self, wasn’t anyone important born on October 7? Did anything of import happen on this day in history?” So I went to the source of all knowledge, Google, and found some answers. They are mostly, “No.”

In 1492, Christopher Columbus changed course and missed Florida, and in 1913, Henry Ford instituted the assembly line. In 1780, the American militia defeated the British near Kings Mountain, NC. In 1942, the United Nations was established. We saw the far side of the moon for the first time in 1959, utilizing the USSR’s Luna 3. In 1969, ABC and NBC began broadcasting. Film star Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California in 2003.

Birthdays include Niels Bohr, Yo-Yo Ma, Toni Braxton, Simon Cowell, John Cougar Mellencamp, James Whitcomb Riley, and Joy Behar.

Hits and misses in both lists, but I won’t tell you which ones I think are misses.

All in all, I think Cheryl had it right
– except for the date. And, by the way, she won with that answer.

I just love the ridiculous.

Posted in Humor, International Days, Modern culture, Quirky news items, Robin Helm, The Writing Life | Tagged , | 8 Comments