Monday, January 30, 2017

An Excerpt from JAMIE'S CHILDREN

My most recently released novel, Jamie’s Children, has received excellent reviews but it would certainly be great to have more! Here are a couple of thoughts from reviewers:

Jamie's Children is beautifully written and moving, flowing like a well-orchestrated symphony with complex interludes and counter melodies. But it's the character development that really makes the story engaging and causes you to keep turning the pages. Jordan has a knack for getting inside her characters and making them come alive. Her vivid descriptions of Niall's manic-depressive episodes drew me in to his character and showed me another side of this disorder. The love scenes between Laura and Lee were beautiful and tender.

“In Jamie's Children, I found stirring, in-depth characters that became like part of the family. Susan Moore Jordan has detailed the agonies and triumphs of Jamie's Children, Niall and Laura, so that you are feeling their pain, and rooting for their happiness. With a lovely flow and elegant imagery, this book was compelling to read and thought-provoking ... well worth the read.”

All my novels are available on Amazon, Kindle and paperback, and local folks can pick up a paperback copy at the Pocono Cinema and Cultural Center whenever the theater is open. Here’s an excerpt from the book: it’s Niall’s twenty-first birthday, and he and his sister Laura are in Aspen, Colorado, where Niall has met the girl of his dreams.

When Nate started playing “Turn, Turn, Turn,” everyone in the room was singing along, and several other guitarists started jamming. Niall was annoyed with himself for not having brought his guitar, but how was he to know he’d find Nirvana in Aspen, Colorado? Bonnie excused herself, and Laura had an amused look on her face.
“Should have brought your guitar, honey,” she said.
“Yeah, you’re right. I sure should have. But it’s fun to listen, anyway.”
Bonnie was standing beside him and said, “Why listen when you can play?” and pulled a Martin guitar from behind her back. “Happy birthday, my love.”
Niall couldn’t believe his eyes. Bonnie and Laura laughed and high-fived each other.
“How on earth … ? Where did you … there’s no guitar store in this town. Is there?”
Bonnie said, “No, but there’s a local gentleman who was willing to sell one of his Martins to us. Happy birthday, Niall!”
He took the beautiful instrument and ran his fingertips over the polished wood, feeling how expertly it had been crafted. He’d held a Martin before; Jack used one and he let Niall play it a couple of times. He handled the instrument almost reverently. Jake, the tavern owner, brought the guitar case over.
“Everything you need, I believe. Extra strings, picks, a capo, a tuner, the strap,” Bonnie said.
Niall set the bottom of the instrument on his knee, held it upright by the neck and turned it slowly, admiring the workmanship. I have a Martin. I can’t believe it. He continued to examine the guitar, and it dawned on him he was holding a D-28. Holy shit. Not just a Martin. The best Martin.
“Bonnie … do you know what a great guitar you and Laura gave me?”
Bonnie laughed. “Oh, you mean because it’s a D-28? Yes, we were told that’s kind of special. A special Martin for a special man.”
People nearby overheard, and when the song was finished one of them spoke to Nate who said, “We’ve got a birthday boy in our midst, folks. How old are you, son?”
All three of them … Niall and his two women … answered in unison, “Twenty-one.”
Cheers, claps and whistles from the group. “Give this man another beer!” “Hell, give him however many he wants!”
Niall was busy tuning the guitar. It was a magnificent instrument and he thought about protesting the gift; he had a good idea what it had cost. But he had fallen in love with it. No way am I going to give it up. And besides, they must have gone to a lot of trouble to arrange the surprise. How could he deny them the fun they’d obviously had?
The next song was John Denver’s “Country Roads,” and Niall didn’t require much urging to join in. Bonnie was sitting close enough to hear him sing, and she said to Laura, “Niall really does have a nice, smooth sound. Perfect for folk music.”
Others sitting nearby heard him as well, and when they’d finished the Denver song, someone spoke to Nate who turned to Niall and asked him, “What’s your fav’rite, bro?”
“‛The Sound of Silence,’” Niall said immediately.
“Come and sit here with me … what’s your name, son?” Niall told him. “Good Irish name, Niall. You Irish?”
“Yeah, I am. Well, my dad’s folks were.”
“Come sit with me and let’s you and me sing your song, whaddya say?”
Niall moved over willingly to join Nate, and on the night of his twenty-first birthday, Niall Logan gave his first public performance, singing Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” with a guy named Nate at a folk jam in Aspen, Colorado, while his sister and his new-found love listened with pride and delight.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017


At a recent Writers’ Conference a literary agent who had looked over part of the novel I hope to release in the spring made this comment: “Memories of Jake has the potential to become a moving family drama.”

When I consider the books I’ve written over these past three and a half years, all of them are about families. How I Grew Up tells the story of the Stewart sisters, three young women who have to put their lives back together after one sister’s estranged husband shoots and kills their parents and another sister’s husband. Eli’s Heart is about a budding romance between a young pianist and a girl he loves which is detoured for a time by his domineering mother. You Are My Song is the story of a young tenor and his wife, and the families of both are an important part of the story. And Jamie’s Children is the story of that tenor’s son and daughter, talented young people who have their own challenges to face.

With Memories of Jake I continue with this theme of family, going back to How I Grew Up and following the sons of the man who murdered their grandparents. What happened to those two boys after that event? They later both serve in the Vietnam War and are deeply affected by it. These may seem like dark themes, and in a way they are, but in all my books I focus on the creativity in the lives of my characters. Music and art help them to face these challenges and heal.

Every family has challenges to deal with, some more difficult than others. And most families have shared memories of happy times as well. The Stewart sisters manage to go on; the two older sisters remarry and have happy lives, the youngest sister pursues her dream of becoming an actress. The pianist’s mother eventually learns to love her daughter-in-law and appreciate the happiness she brings to the man who bears the double burden of musical genius and a serious congenital heart defect. The tenor and his wife suffer a devastating loss and also brilliant success.

These are all stories of people that are, well, ordinary people in many ways. People who laugh, love, weep, rejoice, and find richness in their lives through their creativity.

People my readers tell me they come to love. That is immensely gratifying to me. You might enjoy meeting these people … all my novels are available on Amazon. Winter is a great time to curl up with a good book!

Covers by Tristan Flanagan

All books available on Amazon, paperback and Kindle. 
Links can be found on my website,

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Why I Write

The title of this blog post gave me some trouble. I tried hard to come up with something clever and eye-catching in the hope people would be intrigued enough to read it, but nothing seemed to work. Part of the reason for this: I am deeply immersed in my sixth novel, Man With No Yesterdays; and my fifth novel, Memories of Jake, is in the hands of my Beta readers.

I don’t know about other authors, but when I have my head that far into a book (in this case, a two-book series) I think of little else. I try not to do this when I am driving, and I don’t do it when I’m giving voice lessons, because that’s also a passion. But I can wash dishes, run the vacuum, feed the cat, eat a meal, and not even be here. It’s great.

So that’s why I write. It still surprises me that being near the end of the “ten” part of “threescore years and ten” I have found this new passion that absorbs me. It’s even difficult for me to remember the first four novels in detail … particularly as I’ve worked on this two-book series over the past ten months. They’ve all been good stories which people have enjoyed reading, and I’m grateful for that. Even more, I’ve found that the ability to grow as a writer is exciting. Jamie's Children shows definite improvement from Eli's Heart. Memories of Jake is even better. 

A Beta reader for Memories of Jake sent me a note yesterday: “By the way, this is a very engaging and well-written book. The characters come alive, and I had tears in my eyes a few times. It’s amazing how you spin the story out a little at a time, but everything is important and relevant and keeps the interest. You have artful descriptions that paint a picture, but you don’t overdo it. The dialogue is great, I think I’m watching a movie. Must be your background in theater. You know how to set up a scene!”

At that point she was up to Chapter 11, about a third of the way through the book. It was truly a thrill to hear these nice words, because it told me two things: 1) I had another good story for my readers, and 2) I was telling it better.

That “growing as a writer” comment reminds me how that was an important part of the process in directing a stage musical. Watching the show take shape and the actors, musicians and techies fall in love with what they were doing, making it their own, was the part of that job I enjoyed the most. When they took ownership of the production, I had done my work.

Teaching people to use their voices better is much the same process. I give them the tools to grow vocally and musically, but eventually it’s up to the student to learn to understand and to use them to get the best results. And sooner or later, some of them do “get it.” Those are the students who go on to perform, to teach, to find a way to be a part of the vocal arts.

Directing and teaching have both been passions and immensely satisfying. But writing gives me one thing more. For the first time, I am creating. These books are my work, they are who I am. And for the rest of my life I hope ─ no, I pray ─ that I am able to continue to write. Because it’s become as vital to me as breathing.

It’s nice when I sell a book. It’s nice when someone tells me they’ve read one and loved it. But I have found writing to be its own reward. I think I read that somewhere!

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