The Power of Readers

RT5RTby Susan Carlisle

I have just recently returned from the RT Convention. For those who are not familiar with it, the event is put on by Romantic Times Magazine. It is an opportunity for readers to meet authors. This is the first time I have attended. To say I was a little unsure what to expect would be an understatement. Despite me questioning everyone I knew that had gone, I wasn’t sure I was taking the correct things or where to concentrate my efforts to meet reader. I shouldn’t have worried. I took the Afternoon tea tray as a giveaway. It didn’t matter what I had with meRT2. Readers were everywhere and happy to meet an author. There is nothing like being surrounded by people who truly love books. It makes you feel good about what you bring to another person’s life.

I smiled a lot, had to talk loud over the noise of so many people (thousands), and learn to make the most of an elevator ride.


My big fan moment was asking Kathy Reiches, of the BONES TV show fame, for an autographed book. My family was impressed that I was an author signing in the same book event. I’m pretty sure she sold more books than me but that doesn’t matter. I’m famous to my family by association.

Music to my ears

Now I’m not a reality TV fan but lately we’ve been watching a lot of singing contests – Idol, NZ’s got talent, etc. I’m in awe of these people who can sing, even those who can only sort of sing. I’ve always wanted to have a voice, but I’m a writer instead and more than happy with that.

Not so when I was way younger. I used to sing all the time and probably drove the family crazy. It wasn’t until my piano teacher once asked me to sing the ‘C’ scale that I learned maybe I should look elsewhere for fame. Ballet had already taken a back seat after my dad called me the leaping heifer. (He wasn’t wrong) Anyway halfway through the scale – and there are only eight notes – my teacher shuddered and told me to stop.

But I was more resilient this time and continued to sing and even began writing songs. Thank goodness I kept these for home and the family and eventually conceded I might not be any good. Anyway I was getting interested in boys by then.

But I still liked to listen to music and hum or sing quietly along with songs on the radio when no one was around. Or so I thought. Once, many years later, I was out on a date and this guy and I were dancing. He told me I had a lovely voice and was really in tune. I figured he was trying to charm me into furthering the night because I know a fib when I hear one.

People who can really sing are so gifted and very lucky. And I stick to writing so ears are safe. I can still wish I had a great voice, can’t I? Do you have a secret desire to be great at something?

Springtime Flowers!

Most people enjoy the beauty of flowers all year long, and I’m certainly one of them! The flowers of springtime, though? They’re my favorite, and I’m guessing many of you feel the same way.  Probably because we’re more than ready for some color after the winter landscape, along with the promise of longer days and warmer temperatures.  And, hopefully, some relaxed and lazy summer fun ahead as well!

This is a picture of one of my Korean lilacs, currently in bloom here in the Midwest US. They stay shrub-like, in comparison to many other lilacs that get tall and woody. They’re so pretty and, like all lilacs, smell wonderful!  Any lilac lovers out there?  Do you have a favorite variety?


These, I believe, are Snowdrops. The flowers look a lot like Lily of the Valley but are quite a big larger, with pretty little dabs of green at the flutes, and the plants grow in sizable clumps. If I’m wrong about the name, please tell me!


This spring is bittersweet for me.  I lost my mother, a master gardener, just a few weeks ago.  She had a long and good life but despite being at peace with her passing, I don’t need to tell you that I’m feeling a pretty big hole in my heart right now.

She loved springtime and was looking forward to its arrival. Here is a photo of her from a number of years ago with the first blooms of spring in her garden – Trilliums and Forget-Me-Nots. This section of her garden is a lot more fully grown and green these days, with more springtime plants – Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Solomon’s Seal – surrounding it.


And here’s a bouquet I just cut of the gorgeous tree peony she’s had for many years, and which was one of the few flowers my dad cared to notice, taking the massive blooms to his office for everyone to admire.  He didn’t have much interest in flowers or gardening, but was always willing to dig holes for her – he liked to joke that she’d buy a $10 plant but expected a $50 hole  :-)

tree peony

In my upcoming June release, HER GREEK DOCTOR’S PROPOSAL, I only briefly mention flowers because it’s set in hot, arid, Delphi, Greece! The story features an archaeologist heroine and a doctor hero newly returned to his hometown.  My family and I were blessed to enjoy a wonderful trip to Greece and Delphi last summer, and while there are flowers here and there that manage to thrive in the rocky soil and high temps, it’s the amazing mountains, dazzling gulf waters, and deep history there that are most impressive. I hope you enjoy the story. :-)


So, is there a special spring flower you love to see or grow?  Or someone or something personally meaningful to you about springtime?  I’d love to hear about it!

Special Days Bring Mixed Emotions

As I IMG_1688[2]write this, it’s Mothers’ Day in a vareity of places around the world. In Australia, it was  yesterday but due to the time difference, it’s still MD in the USA, Italy and Mexico. The UK celebrate Mothering Day in March and for some reason, in France, it’s not until May 31st. According to Google, Oman has THREE Mothers’ Days in the year so I guess around the world mothers are covered at some point across the year.

My definition of motherhood is very loose on this day and I like to think it acknowledges all adult women, because  most women are “mothering” aka caring in some way for someone.

I have absolutely NO expectations on Mothers’ Day and I learned fast that the best mothers’ days are the ones I stage manage. ;-) That way there is absolutely NO room for disappointment ;-) Yesterday, as a mother, I was required to attend a school jazz lunch and listen to talented students playing jazz.  I was served champagne, the food was yummy, I didn’t have to wash up and the music was great. When I got home, I decamped for the couch, where in very unusual circumstances, I had total control over the television and I sobbed my way through an episode of Call the Midwife. Bliss!

I know Mothers’ day can be very fraught for many women and my only advice is to own the day and make it yours. Celebrate it the way you want; be selfish for once! Do what you need to do so the day doesn’t drag you down.

If you celebrated Mothers’ Day, what did you do?

Book News!

I’ve got two books up for pre-order and both are out the first week of July! Unlocking Her Surgeon’s Heart, is part of the Midwives on Call series and Truly Madly Montana, is book two in my Medicine River series. Click on the titles for the blurbs and the buy links.

Is any vote ever wasted?

It’s Election Day today in the UK. And even though I’m absolutely not going to talk politics here, I do like an election. I enjoy the discussions, the cut and thrust of the debate, and hearing different sides of an argument.  And I dare say I’ll be struggling to keep awake tonight, to see as many of the results coming in as I can.

I try to keep an open mind – one year I actually bought the all party manifestos and sat down and read each of them – a particularly thankless task I seem to remember because I paid good money just to end up extremely cross when it became clear that ‘we will’ actually translated to ‘we might but I wouldn’t bank on it’ in a number of instances. At least these days the manifestos are available free on the web.

I haven’t always been this keen, though. On one occasion, when I was in my late teens, I decided that I couldn’t be bothered to vote. I reasoned that the election was a local one, of limited importance to me, and that since the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion, my vote wasn’t really required.

Wrong decision.  My mother shooed me out of the house, telling me not to expect any dinner until I’d been to the polling station. Women had fought long and hard to win me the right to vote, and if I thought that not using that vote was okay, then I’d better think again. She didn’t mind who I voted for, just that I did. I got the point, and I’ve always voted since.

Mark Twain said that ‘if voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it’. In one way, perhaps he’s right – I doubt if my coming to a conclusion on what I think about all kinds of different issues, and then casting my vote, made even the smallest difference to what is, or isn’t, going to happen next in terms of government. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that it made a difference to me.

Just a hundred years ago, all women and approximately 40% of men in the UK were disenfranchised.  And today, there are people in certain parts of the world who are not free to vote.  If nothing else can persuade me, then these two facts are enough to convince me that I should vote, as wisely as I can, and as often as I can.  What do you think?

daringtodateAnd on a completely different note, I have a new release, available this month.  Daring to Date her Ex, doesn’t feature opinion polls, elections, or parliamentary candidates.  It does, however feature a tree house, a pair of red shoes and the very delicious Dr Lucas West.

Happy days…

Things that are making me smile today…

A new royal baby! Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana… I’m not particularly a royalist, to be honest, but I do love a new baby. She’s quite the sweetie (and…okay, how did Kate manage to look like that after giving birth? I didn’t change out of my pyjamas for weeks…coiffured hair? Don’t make me laugh, I didn’t wash mine for days…)  What do we think about the name…and the lovely tribute to Diana?

This video of a man reconnecting with a gorilla he hadn’t seen for years…made me cry happy tears:  

I have a new release out! Tempted By Her Italian Surgeon is my first Italian hero- and I fell in total LOVE with him. This is very definitely a story of modern love- it’s all about social media! But it’s fun and there’s a wager and he’s just gorgeous. Did I say already, I love him?

tempted cover

Here’s the blurb:When a deliciously naughty photo of paediatric transplant surgeon Matteo Finelli goes viral, social media expert Ivy Leigh is called in to discipline him. It will be a challenge… especially as Ivy is far from immune to Matteo’s charismatic charm herself! The chemistry between them is sizzling, but can Matteo persuade ever-cautious Ivy to give in to an irresistible temptation?

What’s making you smile today?


Is Emily Forbes really a terrible mother?

A few years ago my brother asked all three of his sisters what they would like to do before they died (it wasn’t as morbid as it sounds :) ). I, very quickly, replied, swim with the whale sharks which is something I’ve wanted to do for decades – probably since I realised I was never going to be a mermaid when I grew up! My sisters both replied with “See my children grow up to be happy adults” which of course made me feel like a bad mother. I had just assumed I would get to do that. But I didn’t feel bad enough to change my answer and next month my husband and I (minus the children – maybe I really am a bad mother) are heading 1200kms north of Perth to Coral Bay in Western Australia to swim with the whale sharks. I cannot wait. If you can forgive my mothering skills perhaps I’ll share some pictures with you when I return. (The one below is courtesy of Migration Media.)

whale sharks at Ninglaoo Reef, WA

Swimming with whale sharks isn’t on my bucket list per se as I don’t really have one. My list is more of a “Places I want to visit” list. I’ve been very fortunate to have seen and done a lot of incredible things but there are still some places left – NYC, China, Vietnam, Prague, the Dalmatian Coast and the Kimberleys in north-west Australia

One of the other places I’ve always wanted to visit is Antarctica but there are a few obstacles – it’s not easy to get to, I get seasick and I don’t really like being cold (I guess I would have been a tropical mermaid :) ), so I decided to do my research and instead I wrote a book set in Antarctica.


“A Kiss To Melt Her Heart” is the story of Dr Sophie Thompson and station leader, Gabe Sullivan and is complete with the Southern Lights, the Aurora Australis, penguins, misadventures, wild storms and of course, love. It’s out now in ebook and print in the US and the UK and will hit the shelves tomorrow (May 1) in Australia and France.

Do you have a bucket list? What’s at the top of your list? Go on, make me feel guilty for being a bad mother,

I’m looking forward to hearing from you (as long as you don’t tell me I really AM a terrible mother, I think I’d rather live in denial!)


   A Kiss to Melt her Heart, USA May 2015