Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Sexy Saturday -- Sexy Duncan from Driving in England

The theme this week for My Sexy Saturday is "You're so sexy!" And who else fits the bill other than our handsome hero Duncan from our latest contemporary romance, Driving in England? I mean, Susannah certainly can't wait to see if the reality lives up to her wild and sexy dreams! ;-)

Driving in England
by Cynthianna and  A J Matthews

Susannah travels to England to discover her boss’s relatives. Renowned genealogist Duncan realizes he’s the lost relative Susannah is seeking. They meet and can’t deny their attraction, but Duncan lies to protect his family’s reputation. Can Susannah pierce Duncan’s armor to find the loving man within?

An excerpt: 

He looked down at her hand on his arm. He slowed his breathing and willed himself not to act too impulsively. “You think it foolish a man of my age keeping a library of erotic literature to himself?”

“I don’t know. Do you think it’s foolish for a woman of my age to want to read a library of erotic literature.” They shared a laugh. Before he could utter a reply, her next words nearly floored him.

“I, uh, had quite an erotic dream about you the other night.”

She raised her face to his. Her words sent an endorphin rush through Duncan’s veins that made his ears tingle. His heart began to pump harder as he moved closer and stared at her flushed face and bright eyes for a long moment. “Really?”

“Oh, yes.” She reached out and took his hand, cupping it with slow deliberation around her left breast. “And I’d like to find out if the reality matches the dream.”

He felt the warmth of Susannah’s body through the cloth of her blouse and brassiere cup. Her nipple hardened against his palm. She licked her lips. Without further ado he leaned forward and kissed her, gently rolling her breast in his hand as he did so. Her response was eager. Susannah opened her lips, and he felt her tongue meet his. Passion burned in his veins as a genuine fear raced through his mind.

It’s been so long... Is it like riding a bicycle? Do you ever really forget how to make love to a desirable woman? Perhaps she will show me how—if I forget.

Driving in England is now available at Devine Destinies Books:

and soon wherever fine ebooks are sold! 

Have a great My Sexy Saturday! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Driving in England now available from Devine Destinies Books

It's a first! My husband and I wrote a book together, and here's an excerpt from it as well as the purchase link. Feel free to share the news with other readers of contemporary romance. Thank you!

Driving in England
by Cynthianna and  A J Matthews

Susannah Koenig travels to England on an urgent mission to discover her boss’s relatives. Duncan Balfour, a renowned genealogist, doesn’t think he’d like to meet the woman who nags him online for help. Then he realizes he is the long lost relative Susannah’s boss is desperately searching for. Once the pair meet, they can’t deny their mutual attraction, but Duncan can’t help lying to her to protect his family’s reputation. Can Susannah pierce Duncan’s armor to find the loving man within and reveal the truth that could save a life?

From Chapter One, an excerpt from Driving in England:

“Oh. My. God.”
    Susannah Koenig smothered a laugh behind a hand, staring at the headline splashed across her laptop’s screen. Unfrocked Vicar Eaten by Lion! She couldn’t believe her eyes. That kind of thing only happened in the movies or on some poorly written sit-coms—not in real life—and most certainly not in some staid English village circa 1932.
    She rose from the sofa and walked away from the coffee table littered with the remains of half-eaten bagels, dusty genealogy volumes, and various papers she’d gathered over the past two weeks. There’s no way on earth I can tell the boss about his ancestor, the unfrocked vicar who was consumed by a large beast of prey. No way. I value my job too much.
    But what could she do? Harold Spalding paid her good money to graph out his family tree in minute detail. How could she avoid mentioning the former Reverend Titus Spalding, a man accused of sexual misconduct who was stupid enough to stick his head in a lion’s gaping jaws?
    “I can’t believe this.” She switched on the kitchen light and began automatically stacking dishes into the dishwasher. “Who in his right mind would knowingly walk into a lion’s cage at a circus to prove his innocence? In the twentieth century no less! The man was a first class idiot!”
    Shit! The sudden realization of the horrible revelation hit her hard in the stomach. She gulped and put down the dish she was stacking. I can’t tell Mr. Spalding that he had a complete lunatic for a grandfather. It’ll kill him.
    And then she’d be out of a job.
    A very good position with responsibility and prestige, one that she had slaved and suffered long enough to land... Women hit the glass ceiling in the good ol’ boy oil industry all the time, so Susannah felt rightfully proud of her accomplishment, even if it had taken many years and more than a few gray hairs. Nothing was going to stand in her way of keeping her job until they forced her into retirement. Nothing.
    “Damned if I do—damned if I don’t.” Susannah sighed. She could think of only one thing to get herself out of this dilemma. She needed help—professional help. She’d have to email that stuffy, stick-up-his-ass Duncan Balfour and ask for his assistance once again. Maybe the genealogist par excellence could find some other worthy tidbits of information about the crazy vicar, suggest some way to sweeten the news, to make it more palatable for her boss to swallow?
    “If I’m lucky, there might be two Reverend Titus Spaldings in England, and the boss is related to the more normal fella. Please, Lord, let that be the case!”
    Swallowing her pride, and a few dry crumbs of bagel, she headed back to her laptop to email the uptight Brit.
    Dear Mr. Balfour:
    I’m in need of your assistance. I’m working on a genealogy project on behalf of my employer, Harold Spalding, and may have discovered a link in his family tree to a Reverend Titus Spalding of Understrand, Norfolk County, England. As I recall reading online, you’re a resident of the area. Could you check your own and local sources to enlighten me as to the true character of this individual? Could his name have been confused with any others of same or similar name? Your help in the past has been most appreciated, and I thank you in advance for this undertaking.
    All the best,
    Susannah Koenig
    Tapping send, she glanced at the computer clock. Britain was six hours ahead of Texas, so Balfour would receive her missive first thing in the morning local time. Good enough. She’d check her email in the morning to see if the priggish academic felt her request for information worthy of an immediate reply.
    Give the devil his due, Balfour always replies in a timely manner with hard factual material, even if his tone is patronizing. But somehow, Susannah got the impression the man found addressing a lowly American amateur beneath his dignity. Hadn’t she paid his fees promptly? Hadn’t she been businesslike and fair in all her dealings with the man?
    Glass ceilings existed everywhere—in business, in genealogy circles, in life in general. In spite of the odds, she had marched forward, throwing herself against the walls of prejudice erected to keep women in their place, particularly women of a certain age as she had been labeled in the past few years. Her success had been hard won and all of her own doing. No silver spoons were ever placed in her mouth!
    Susannah rolled her eyes heavenwards as she rose from the sofa. Some people! It’s like they don’t know what it’s like to earn a living. Spalding Oilfield Solutions paid her good money, and the chance to advance offered by the boss’s interest in her family tree hobby had been too good to ignore. She headed back to the kitchen to finish filling the dishwasher and sighed. “I just wish I didn’t have to depend on some old-money, snobby jackass I’ve never met in the flesh to get me through this rough patch.”

Driving in England

now available at Devine Destinies Books.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Review: The Graveyard Book Volume 1

The Graveyard Book Volume 1The Graveyard Book Volume 1 by P. Craig Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nobody Owens (or “Bod” for short) seems like a mischievous young boy in the manner of Huckleberry Finn. Bod loves to explore. He’s curious about the people and the world around him. He gets himself into serious trouble from time to time and has to use his wits and tenacity to extricate himself from danger. The real difference between him and a normal boy? Bod is a human child who dwells in a graveyard with ghosts for adopted parents and a tall, dark guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead.

But can Bod’s extended graveyard family keep him safe? Silas provides food and clothing since he can roam outside the gates at night. Mr. and Mrs. Owens give Bod a home in their crypt, as well as love and discipline. Miss Lupescu’s lessons in paranormal creatures and Mr. Pennyworth’s lessons in fading from view like a ghost come in handy when Bod deals with evil ghouls and greedy humans searching after buried treasures. A friendly witch Liza buried right outside the graveyard gives him tips as well, and Bod repays her in kind by giving her the headstone she never had.

Neil Gaiman’s Newberry Medal-winning The Graveyard Book has been beautifully adapted to graphic novel form by illustrator P. Craig Russell. The first volume of the fantasy series features seven excellent illustrators with five chapters and a cliff-hanging interlude that leaves the reader dangling as to whether Bod’s ultimate fate will be among the living or the dead. Volume 2 can’t come soon enough!

View all my reviews

Friday, December 26, 2014

Doctor Who: The Last Christmas Special Ever?

Doctor Who: The Last Christmas Special Ever?

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

You sometimes wonder as a fan of a long-running popular television program why it wishes to imitate every other show on the telly. Just because many TV series produce a Christmas special for broadcast every December doesn’t mean your series has to have a Christmas special or even should have a holiday special, does it? Doctor Who from 1963 to 1989 never had a distinctly Christmas special, but since its 2005 reincarnation it somehow sees the necessity of producing one every December 25, featuring killer Christmas trees, homicidal angels or evil Christmas stars. “‘Tis the season to hate Christmas!” it seems to sing.

So, after viewing this season’s special, I have one word of advice to those planning next year’s Christmas special: Don’t.

Okay, maybe it’s two words: Please don’t. Take guidance from the original series—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Use the extra money in the budget to produce another regular episode or two, give the cast and crew a pay raise, or go on location big-time. In other words, put the money and resources to good use and produce quality programming instead of a Christmas special that’s not needed or possibly even wanted by some of the fans.

Having said that, the basic premise of this season’s special, Last Christmas, is a good horror tale of dreams nestled within dreams and of face-hugging dream crabs whose shape is directly ripped off from the Alien/Aliens franchise. If the story had been broadcast on or near Halloween, minus the addition of Santa Claus and possibly re-designing the aliens to look less like the popular movie monster, it might have worked. As it is, it’s yet another Christmas special that advertises how its creators don’t quite get the true meaning of the holy day. After all, if you don’t believe in Christ, then you don’t have to celebrate Christmas or add it into your show in any form, do you? Maybe you should just write sci-fi/fantasy episodes with a more generic tone and leave the Christmas specials to others to pen?

One could ask why is Santa Claus in this Doctor Who script at all. We’re told that he’s a universal symbol that all the characters can relate to during their horrific dilemma, but truly, who is Santa Claus? He’s a part of your dreams—nightmares you might not ever wake up from—according to Last Christmas. Not quite a great thing for young children to be told and indicative of how far the show has traveled from its family-friendly origins. If youngsters aren’t terrified of killer Christmas trees, homicidal angels, and evil Christmas stars, they can now be frightened of Nightmare Santa and the face-hugger aliens who can make your happiest dreams deadly. Should parents go ahead and send their children’s psychiatric bills to the BBC?

Perhaps there is some hope in the fact that Santa Claus himself is played quite warmly (despite some of his throw-away lines) by Nick Frost. And perhaps—without even realizing it—Steven Moffat has written a most Christian motif into the ending of Last Christmas. The Doctor says to his companion he doesn’t know who brought them together in their nightmarish adventures of dream states, but the camera pulls back to reveal a tangerine (looks more like an orange really) placed on the windowsill. 

Placing tangerines (oranges) into Christmas stockings is a long-standing tradition from St. Nicholas’ Day, December 6, when children are given gifts in the saint’s honor. The orange globe represents one of the bags of gold that Nicholas tossed into the window of the home of three young women whose father wasn’t able to provide dowries for them, so they weren’t able to marry. Mirroring God’s unconditional love, Nicholas tossed the money into their home—no strings attached—so that the young women could go from a state of hopelessness to hopefulness about their futures. Their lives were changed for the better all because of this beautiful gift that they never asked for or expected, freely given.

 As St. Nicholas stands as a symbol of God’s love and his gift of the gold (tangerine/orange) a symbol of the gift of the Savior promised to all people, perhaps we the audience are being given a hint just Who is actually directing the Doctor’s travels and what special purpose the Doctor serves in helping humanity unconditionally.

With the promise of the true gift of Christmas, Clara and Danny wouldn’t have to suffer through a maudlin scene of this is our “last Christmas,” since we’re never promised another one with those we love, for with Christ at the center of the Christmas celebration we are all promised an eternity of Christmases with those we love. Eternity—it’s a heckuva lot longer than a short life span here on earth. Eternity—we get to spend forever in God’s unconditional love. What a great way to time travel with those we love! 

If only the Doctor, Danny and Clara could accept God’s unconditional love, given as the gift of the Christ-child born on Christmas day, then we’d see more emotionally and spiritually mature characters who wouldn’t have to act maudlin, whiney, childish, or confused. They could act confident in the fact that they have a loving Higher Power watching over them in all the challenges they face, now and in the future. What an uplifting and happy Christmas special that would be!


You can read my review of Death in Heaven here:

Doctor Who vs. Marvel's Agents of Shield: Creating strong female characters:

I got the Doctor Who Let Down Blues:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014