Friday, January 15, 2016

Meet Susanne Dietze - #author with #Austen In Austen

I'm (Jaime) SUPER excited to have Susanne Dietze visit our blog today with her new novella release. She will also be in the upcoming release The Cowboy's Bride Collection that my novella is also in. :) She was gracious enough to answer some silly and serious questions from me too. Have a looksee  about this great novella collection and learn about Susanne! :)

Four Texas-Set Novellas Based on Jane Austen's Novels

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. 

Volume 1 includes:

If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn
based on Emma 
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

Romantic Refinements by Anita Mae Draper
 based on Sense and Sensibility 
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze
based on Pride and Prejudice 
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.

Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin
 based on Northanger Abbey 
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.


What authors do you like to read?

Too many to list! I’m drawn to historical love stories because I write them, but I also read a lot of contemporaries, mysteries, and YA.

What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
As a teenager, I read a traditional Regency romance called Scandal’s Daughter by Margaret Summerville that made me sit up and say, “I want to write this stuff!” It was such a fun moment that I remember exactly where I was—in a tent, beach camping with my best friend’s family. I’d wanted to be a writer before that, and read many books I’d loved, but that was when I knew I wanted to write romance.

On a personal level, the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux (and books about her) challenge me to serve God in my every action and situation, whether it’s washing dishes, changing a diaper, or spending time with others.

What’s more important: characters or plot?

I write romance, and that genre requires both! Rich characters fall flat without obstacles to overcome; likewise, it’s not easy to relate to a story if the characters don’t change or develop. However, it’s my opinion that many writers have an easier time writing one over the other. For me, it’s easier to write character development, so it helps me to brainstorm plots with a buddy.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author and what would it be?

Politics! That’s a joke, although, really, it’s funny because it’s true.

I won’t write explicit stuff, but there’s a difference between writing about how a subject affects characters and writing a scene including it. Since I write “clean” books, I won’t descriptively show certain things, like sex, for example. However, that doesn’t mean my characters will never deal with issues relating to it. My characters’ lives are messy, just like real life is.

How important are names to you in your books and how do you choose them?

I love naming characters! Sometimes they come to me named, but other times, I have to consider their personalities and the time and place they live in. I enjoy looking at historical records for inspiration, like church registries, censuses, or Social Security lists.

What secret talents do you have? Because here at the CCC blog we have all kinds of them ;)

I can tell you one talent I do not have: snapping my fingers. I do the action but no cool sound comes of it. People have been horrified by my inability to do something so normal, but when they try to help me, they see I’m doing it right and they give up. I’m unsnappy. You know how some moms snap their fingers at their kids to get their attention? Yeah, I can’t do that.

What were you like as a child? Steady-going like our Anne, a tornado like Jaime, and adventurous soul like Erica, or an avid-reader like Gabrielle?

Oh, I was definitely an avid reader. When I wasn’t reading stories, I was making them up. Even when I was riding my bike down the sidewalk, I had a plot going in my head, like I was a Disneyland ride for invisible mini passengers or I was traversing a treacherous trail to get soup to a sick person. I never just rode a bike to get from point A to point B.

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

Hmm, that’s a toughie. I can’t think of something shareable, but when I’m in a spot, I try to breathe, ask for God’s help, and exercise patience.

What’re your writing goals for 2016?

I have three deadlines to meet in the first half of the year. I am a plotter, but I need to be even more disciplined right now to get everything done in a way that makes me comfortable and gives me time for critiques and beta readers. That means planning: what to write, when to write, what’s for dinner, etc. Once those deadlines are met, I have some proposals to work on!

Lastly, will you leave us with a snippet from your book that is one of your favorites and gives us a glimpse into its pages?

Austen in Austin Volume I is a collection of four Texas-set novellas that retell Jane Austen stories. Here’s the opening page of One Word From You, my version of Pride and Prejudice with a Texas twist.

Urged by her family to marry for the sake of their dwindling finances, Eliza Branch prefers to pay for the remainder of her time at the Austen Academy by writing for the local paper. There’s plenty to write about now that railroad baron William Delacourt has come to Austin. His proposed northbound line may be good for local business, but she’s still stinging from his terrible first impression. If the rumors about William are true, then he deserves to be skewered in print. But when Eliza’s pen gets ahead of her conscience, it’s William who makes everything right—and the reasons behind his sacrifice just might be the story of Eliza’s lifetime.

“My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice


October, 1883

“If it is indeed a truth universally acknowledged that a bachelor in possession of a lucrative cattle ranch must be in want of a wife, then Mr. Cray will be swapping vows before calving season.” Merriment pulled at Eliza Branch’s lips as she gazed past her parents at the darkness beyond the carriage window. “He doesn’t need our assistance to find a suitable bride.”

“This is no time for your odd sense of humor, Eliza.” The carriage bumped over a pothole, and Mother sucked in a hissing breath. “This headache!”

“I’m sorry, Mother. I didn’t mean to upset you. Are you ill?” Eliza bit the finger-seam of her glove and tugged, baring her arm to the evening cool. She cupped her hand over Mother’s smooth cheek. “You don’t have a fever.”

Mother’s head jerked back. “Still a hoyden after months of finishing school. Can no one persuade you to stop undressing with your teeth?”

“I didn’t rip the seam this time.” Eliza patted Mother’s knee. “Let’s turn back home. The Hales will understand if you’re too ill to attend the gala.”

“You mother’s fine,” Father drawled. “Hot with determination, is all.”

“No thanks to you, George.” Mother’s eyes flashed glossy as ink in the moonlight. “Now Eliza must wed Hezekiah Cray with too much haste for a proper society wedding.”

“I—what?” A nauseating sensation coiled in Eliza’s stomach, just as it did during her recurring nightmare of arriving tardy for a French exam at her finishing school, The Jeannette C. Austen Academy for Young Ladies. In those dreams, she couldn’t recognize the conjugations on the chalkboard. But Mother’s perplexing words boded a far worse fate than poor marks.

“Marry,” Mother reiterated, as if she were about to spell the word. “You’re nineteen. Plenty old enough.”

Eliza stifled a snort. She’d marry Mr. Cray, with his oily black hair, overlong mustache, and unsavory habits when his cattle sang in the church choir. “He gambles, Mother.”

“He can afford to. He has the touch of Midas with livestock.”

“And I do not.” Father sighed and stared out the window at the dark street.

Eliza’s mouth filled with fearful questions, cold and metallic as coins on her tongue. “What’s happened?”

“The cattle are diseased.” Mother massaged her temples. “Your father bred good stock with feral cows to produce some new kind of Longhorn. But he failed. The drought hasn’t helped, either. We must sell the ranch to keep the house here in town.”

Eliza touched Father’s arm, willing him to look at her. “It’s not so bad, is it, Father?”

He shrugged, but whether his action bespoke apology or resignation, she couldn’t tell.


Susanne is offering a “One Word From You” Prize package: a copy of Austen in Austin, Volume I (paper or e-book, winner’s choice) that includes her novella, One Word From You; The Jane Austen Devotional hardback by Steffany Woolsey, and a pink pocket notebook. 

Enter using Rafflecopter on Susanne's website,, through 11:59 pm PST January 15, 2016. 

There’s also a second giveaway put on by the authors, found on


Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others. A pastor’s wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. Susanne is the author of six new and upcoming novellas. You can visit her on her website,








  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Jaime! I'm beyond thrilled we're in The Cowboy's Bride together and I Cannot Wait (all caps intended) for its release.

    What a treat to be on CC&C. Blessings, ladies!

  2. Your site is so lovely, it makes me want to go home and redecorate (my house).
    Waving to Susie. She's a sweetheart and I'm blessed to have her as a critique partner. Certainly a lot of fun when we are plotting coordinated stories!

    1. Deb!!! Thanks so much for coming by. It has been a tremendous blessing to work with you on this project. And to be crit partners and BBC buddies and, and, and...

      Deb's story in the collection, Alarmingly Charming, is adorable. Northanger Abbey meets Austin.

      Thanks for visiting, Deb!

  3. Congrats on the release of One Word from You, Susie. First it won the Genesis award, now this. Excellent!

    I'm honored to have my novella appear in the same book as you both, Susie, and Deb, and same goes with Gina. I enjoyed the whole process of intermingling with all of the Austen in Austin authors while we figured out how to connect our stories.

    1. I feel the same way, Anita Mae! I am so happy to be in this book with you, Deb, and Gina. A treat like this probably comes along just once in a lifetime. It was so much fun!

      Congratulations on the release of Romantic Refinements today! SOOOO happy for you!

  4. Congrats on your release. Love your website.

    1. Hi Kim! Thanks for the kind words! We are all pretty excited! :)

      Thank you for visiting the website! I appreciate it! I hope you're having a great day. Blessings!

  5. Suszie, Congratulations on your release of One Word From You. I can't wait to read it! Since I'm a native Texan, this collection holds a special place in my heart. Blessings!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Caryl! I can't wait for you to read it. I sure enjoyed researching 1880s Texas. What an amazing state! Blessings to you and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  6. So excited for you, Susie! Such a great idea. :D

  7. I've read the stories in this collection and you won't be disappointed! They did a great job of pulling of the Jane Austen themes while giving it a distinctly western flavor. May sound odd, but it really worked!

  8. I'm looking forward to reading this collection, it looks like a lot of fun!

  9. I know many claim this, as well, but Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time. It started my love of romantic comedies. :) So any book that feeds my love of Austen, is a must-read. I wish you much success with it's release.

  10. Congrats on the release! I love the snippet you provided! As a Jane Austen fan myself, I'm looking forward to this collection! Have a great weekend!

    Annie JC


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