Today I am so pleased to welcome Susan Hawke to Joyfully Jay. Susan has come to talk to us about her latest release, How to Live. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Susan a big welcome!

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Before I opened the door to my house, I glanced over my shoulder with a quick warning, backed up by the excited barking coming from the other side. “You might want to brace yourself. I have a fierce guard dog. Scruffy will smother you with kisses, drool all over you, and you will be covered with hair.”

“Sounds like a good time on a Saturday night to me.” Derek smirked, flashing me a flirty wink.

“Ha! You say so now, but remember you were warned.”

As soon as the door opened, I had sixty-seven pounds of hair, wagging tail, and floppy ears attacking my ass like he hadn’t seen me in a week.

Scruffy jumped to say hello, then pushed his big paws off my thighs, flipped sideways, and ran in a circle in front of me, barking the entire time. This was his normal greeting routine, with its usual ending: him flopping on his back, tongue lolling from the side of his mouth while he pawed the air and shamelessly begged for belly rubs.

Today, though, he made it as far as the flopping before calming enough to notice another person in the room. A new person. Because of the newness, Derek got an entirely different greeting.

Derek was backed flush against the door, totally frozen while cautiously watching. My boy was a charmer, though. He’d been taught manners and used them when he chose. The barking came to a complete halt, and so did he—directly in front of Derek. Scruffy sat like a nice boy, tilting his head to the right, perking a floppy ear halfway up, and lifting his left paw for a shake.

Dropping to his knees, Derek shook the paw. “Look at you. What a handsome guy.” Scruffy leaned in close, politely licking under Derek’s chin and earning himself a hug. Derek peered up at me, his chin resting on Scruffy’s head. “Your dog is a cartoon drawing come to life, totes adorbs and hairier than advertised. What is he, aside from fabulous? His breed, I mean.”

“Scruffy is best described as a blue-ribbon mutt because he earned one at a mutt show my mama made me take him to last year. The best we can guess is a mix of cocker spaniel and sheepdog. I keep threatening to get one of those canine DNA tests done to know for sure, but I kinda like the scruffster being a man of mystery.”

Derek leaned back and took another good peek at my slutty mutt, who was already whimpering and trying to get more hugs. Scruffy’s coat was mostly white with brown patches to add interest. His right ear, tail, and toes were chestnut brown, along with splotches on his body like a Holstein cow. His coloring, combined with his floppy ears and a fluffy tail made for dusting nearby surfaces with every wag, made Scruffy uniquely adorable.

And very much like a cartoon dog come to life. My family would love Derek’s description.

Scruffy was now on his back while Derek rubbed his belly with both hands. I hated to end the lovefest, but I wasn’t sure how much time we had before it started raining again, and Derek’s things were still sitting in the bed of my truck. Also, it’s entirely possible I was jealous of my dog. Obviously, I needed to work on my game.

“Ahem. Sorry to interrupt, cutie. Let’s get you past the front door and give you the quick tour. Then I can unload while you decide where you want everything.”

Derek sat back against his heels, giving Scruffy a final rub. “I’m sorry, baby. I promise we will revisit this later because you and I are going to be besties. But at the moment, I have to be responsible. Raincheck?” I adored the way he talked to my dog like a person, something I definitely wasn’t guilty of myself. Nope, not at all.

“Sorry, Scruffs. I swear it’s not personal. You can get the pets and belly rubs later. We need to let Derek see his bedroom first. He’s going to be living with us—what do you think?” Scruffy was on his feet, tail wagging and looking up at Derek as if to ask why he wasn’t moving yet. Giggling, Derek eased to his feet, his hand resting on the top of Scruffy’s head as he moved to follow me.


how to live cover LOVESTRONG, Book 7

Take one clueless, spoiled guy with notoriously bad luck…

When Derek Leigh is diagnosed with breast cancer at twenty-four, it’s the final straw in a lifetime of bad luck. If he’s going to die, it’ll be on his terms… with one helluva party that packs a lifetime’s worth of fun into whatever time he has left. To make this happen, Derek blows up his life: dumps the long-term boyfriend in the worst way possible, borrows money he can’t repay from a loan shark, and heads to Atlantic City… where his luck unexpectedly changes, giving him fresh hope.

Add one easygoing tattoo artist with a big, open heart…

Asher Matthews has dealt with a lot in his thirty-five years: he and his twin were born addicted to heroin and abandoned at birth… until Mama Maisie added them to her brood of lost boys. ADHD and dyslexia didn’t keep him from following his dream of opening his own tattoo shop, especially with his family’s support. With all that he’s been given in life, Asher makes a point of giving back where he can.

To equal two men who instantly connect in all the best ways.

Derek is shocked to not only survive his cancer treatment, but to come to the end of it in great health. Too bad he’s blown through all his money, lost his car, and has nowhere to turn. On a whim, he goes for a free tattoo. Asher takes one look at the sexy twink who’s down on his luck and offers him a room, a job, and even better, a friend. If they have a little no-strings fun along the way, it’s fine. It’s not like anyone is looking to fall in love, right?

This 55k novel is the seventh book in the LOVESTRONG series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Watch out for ridiculous amounts of money won and lost, a butler who takes everything in stride, and a scruffy dog you’ll want to cuddle. This is an mm romance full of all the fun, laughter, and sweet feels you’d want from a Susan Hawke book.

Possible trigger for anyone currently fighting cancer or closely related to a breast cancer patient. The book is low angst and the experience is gently handled, but the subject matter is present.


As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it. This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.

I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.

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To celebrate Susan’s new release, we are giving away 3 e-copies of How To Live! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post
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