Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Short and Sweet Story!

Now available from Devine Destinies Books...

If You Give A Time Traveler A Cookie
(Book 4 in the Loving Who series) 

John and Cici return to St. Louis just in time for Cici to make her eye doctor appointment, but for some odd reason her apartment door seems jammed. The alien time traveler John Smith confesses he might have created a box that produces an endless supply of Thin Mints to assuage Cici's junk food habit. Will they be able to break the door down, stop the inter-dimensional cookie manufacturing, and save the building from collapsing before it's too late?

Excerpt: Never underestimate a sweet tooth.

“What is wrong with the door? Strange. I sure hope my landlord hasn’t locked me out of my apartment for non-payment of rent.”

“Impossible—remember, this is only twenty-four hours after we left, and the last time before we left Earth we jumped ahead to the distant future, took out your accrued interest on your savings, and pre-paid your rent all the way up to 2075. Your landlord absolutely adores you.” John fished in his jacket pockets for a small device that somewhat mimicked the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and pointed it at the lock. Nothing happened. “Maybe it’s rusty.” 

“Are you sure we’ve returned to Earth in the right time zone?”

“Of course we have.” He didn’t look too happy that I was questioning his expertise again, but after helping him thwart a number of attempted alien invasions of my home planet, John Smith wasn’t always the most reliable of time travelers. He put his device away, crossed his arms and stared hard at the door. “I think something is blocking it.”

“What could possibly be blocking it? I mean, I know my place isn’t exactly a mansion, but I don’t have any furniture located near the door that could have fallen across it and caused it to jam the lock. It doesn’t make any sense.”

He sniffed. “Who says it has to make sense? You humans rarely make sense to me.”

I laughed. “Ha! You’re one to talk, Mr. Junk Food Junkie. Who scarfed down all my Girl Scout cookies in one sitting and then asked for more?”

“I solved that problem as you recall.” He frowned at my forgetfulness at his thoughtfulness. “I reached into the twelfth dimension and redirected the end of the production line so the cookies would end up in your last empty box of Thin Mints so you wouldn’t ever be without… Oh, dear.” John’s eyes widened. His draw dropped. “Do you smell chocolate?”

I followed his sight line to the door and sniffed the air. “Hmm… Now that you mention it, yes, yes, I do smell a strong scent of chocolate—and mint, too. You can’t mean…” I gasped as the implication of his words hit me. My voice came out as a whisper. “You’re saying you didn’t turn off the cookie generator before we left?”

He shrugged. “Seems not.”

If You Give A Time Traveler A Cookie, now available at Devine Destinies Books.  

Check out the whole Loving Who series and enjoy the romantic-comedic sci-fi adventure!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Doctor Who Review: Twice Upon a (Mediocre) Time

Twice Upon a (Mediocre) Time
a Doctor Who Review
Warning: *Spoilers*

We were fortunate this holiday season to be able to see the Doctor Who Christmas special on the night it broadcast in the U.S. I'd like to say we were fortunate to have seen a first rate send-off for Peter Capaldi's Doctor, but sadly we did not. 

First thing I have to mention is that I can't stand the sheer amount of commercial interruptions BBC America incorporated into the episode. Possibly there was a decent story hidden somewhere in between the copious amount of ad breaks, but they were enough to zap any interest either one of us had in the show from one scene to the next. And that says something for itself right there--if there had been a engaging storyline, then no amount of commercial interruptions would have caused us to channel surf and lose interest.

While David Bradley's portrayal of the First Doctor is superb, was his character really necessary in the story at all? Was the character of Bill necessary? Essentially, the premise is about the Christmas Truce of 1914. We have an English captain, played by screenwriter/actor Mark Gatiss, come along for a ride in the TARDIS, but there is surprisingly little mayhem or shooting.  There is a lot talking, however, and most of it could have been said and done within ten minutes tops, end of story.

The Christmas Truce is not a bad idea for a Christmas special. Can the Doctor bring a little "peace on Earth" during the Great War? But it's not a big enough story idea by itself for an hour show, so there was a lot of padding added, and the story's pacing slowed to a crawl. The preponderance of talking scenes didn't really make us feel all that nostalgic about Peter Capaldi's last time on screen as the Doctor, either. We were looking for more "action" and less "chatter."

The "atheists' heaven"--with dead companions walking around like spirits--came across as maudlin and an all-too-convenient plot device for the Doctor to say good-bye to his companions and deal with his fear of "death". While the recreation of the First Doctor's TARDIS interior was fantastic, we wished we could have seen more of it or had it worked into the plotline more. Once again, if you're going to add characters to flesh out a thin plot, perhaps you could have used them for greater affect? Otherwise, the viewer feels cheated. The promos tricked us into thinking there was going to be more to the story.

So, essentially in Twice Upon a Time we have a great actor in Peter Capaldi (and a great Who fan himself) who has been given a rather mediocre send-off after some rather mediocre seasons of Doctor Who. What a shame.
Somehow, I wasn't surprised to see the writer of this episode was Steven Moffat. His writing has really suffered since he took the helm as showrunner. (Is this the same person who wrote Blink?) Perhaps it's good he's retiring the gig and moving on.

Speaking of moving on, we were expecting to see a lot more of the new Doctor, Jodie Whitaker. She appears in the very last minute of the episode and promptly tumbles out of the TARDIS. As classic Who fans, we long for the more dignified regeneration scenes (such as the First Doctor experienced) instead of the showy pyrotechnics the modern Who series goes in for. Blowing up your time ship every time you regenerate gets messy--and predictable now that it's been done four times since 2005.

Let's cross our fingers for a better run for the "lucky thirteenth" Doctor!
We didn't see her in this outfit at all. It was a let down.

Available now--Book 3 in the Loving Who series, Losing Who. And coming in January--a short and sweet story featuring John Smith and Cici from the Loving Who series. All available from Devine Destinies Books and wherever fine ebooks are sold.


Friday, December 01, 2017

Losing Who--Book 3 in the Loving Who series now available!

Losing Who
(Book Three in the Loving Who series)

Cici Connors is losing her mind—or is she? She has vague memories of living another life where she time traveled and explored the universe accompanied by an alien with psychic abilities, but these memories can't be real, can they? Losing her job doesn't make her life any easier, so Cici decides it's time to grow up and give up Doctor Who fandom once and for all.

Alien time traveler John Smith had to leave Cici on Earth for the sake of clearing up Earth's muddy timeline. Now he vows to return to his adopted world--and return Cici's memories as well. But nothing is ever easy or simple where John is concerned. With the aid of his alien partners-in-crime, Captain Mac and Babbling Brook, John devises a clever plan to gain Cici's attention. Will hiring Cici to run John's sci-fi convention attract another invasion of Earth by artificially intelligent life forms? 

Excerpt--Cici and John Smith meet again, but she doesn't recognize him...

Cici blinked twice and took a long, shaky breath. Out of nowhere a rescuer had rushed to her side and helped her to her feet. The gentleman stood tall and thin with bright blue-gray eyes and a distinguished touch of silver in his graying blond hair. If she wasn’t mistaken, he had the most charming Scots accent. She gazed up into his questioning face and felt a connection. Had they met somewhere before? Odd, but she somehow thought they had. For the life of her, she couldn’t remember where or when.

“Y-yes, I’m fine,” she sputtered. “Just a bit breathless. Thank you.”

He nodded. “You’re welcome.”

She took a step forward and felt a sharp stab of pain in her right ankle. “Ow!”

“You’re injured. Here.” He took her hand and placed it on his forearm. “Lean on me.”

“You're so very kind.” 

“Really?” His silver eyebrows arched, and his eyes widened. “There’s a first time for everything.”

Cici did her best not to grimace as they hobbled together toward one of the few benches located along the trail. Her rescuer helped her to sit and then knelt in front of her foot to check for damage.

“You’re not a doctor, are you?” she asked, trying to make light conversation as the stranger gently manipulated her injured ankle.

A doctor?” He smiled. “Funny you should say that, but some people do think I resemble one. Does this hurt?” He pressed along the side of her arch.

“Ow!” She winced. “Not too much. After the shock wears off in a few minutes I’ll probably be fine.”

“That’s a good sign when you can handle shock well. How about this?” He pushed her foot upward, her toes pointing toward her body. 

Cici bit her lip hard to hold back a scream. She saw stars and almost passed out from the pain. “Yep. It hurts. Lots.”

“I thought it might. It’s more than likely a sprain, but you might want to get it x-rayed to check for broken bones.”

“I can’t afford the x-ray, so we’ll go with the sprain, shall we?” Her new companion didn’t seem to get her dark sense of humor. His eyes bulged in his long face as he considered her reaction. “What’s wrong? Have I grown a horn in the middle of my forehead, or am I turning a particularly sickening shade of green?”

He smiled. He got it. “More pale than green, and the horn quite suits you. I like horns.”

“That’s good. I wouldn’t want to scare you off so easily.” Did I say that out loud? Get a grip! Flirting when you’re unemployed isn’t a good thing. You can’t afford new clothes and make-up to keep him interested.

“Don’t worry. I don’t scare easily.” Her savior stood and looked at her, thoughtfully rubbing the lapels of his navy jacket. “We just passed an access parking lot, but unfortunately I don’t have a car to take you home in to recuperate. What could we use to get you home without causing further pain?”

“Too bad we don’t have a little red wagon or a rickshaw handy,” she suggested.

“That’s a good idea. Very good indeed.” He spun on his heels and disappeared into thin air as quickly as he had appeared originally.

Cici blinked twice. Her tall and handsome Scotsman, in a rather dashing red-lined navy blue suit with a buttoned-up white shirt, had simply vanished. Just my luck. She waved at where he’d once stood. “Uh, thanks again for your help.”

What to do now? She took several deep breaths and tried to prepare herself for the hobble home up the trail. Perhaps she could find a tree branch strong enough to hold her wait while she limped? Unfortunately for her, it appeared the county parks’ groundskeepers had recently been in the area to mow and pick up fallen branches along the trail. Her luck this week had gone from bad to worse to dismal. Go figure.

“There’s nothing for it. Cowboy up, Connors.” With a groan of determination, Cici rose to her feet. “Ye-ow! Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot…”

She had barely made it a yard before the distinguished Scotsman reappeared behind her.

“Hold it right there,” he commanded. “We’ve got to fit you into this contraption.”

Cici stared until she thought her eyes would pop out of her head. Was it really a rickshaw? “W-where on Earth did you get that?”

He frowned and scratched his head. “On Earth? Well, you could say a friend in China owed me a favor, so he let me borrow it.”

“A friend from China, you mean?”

“Yes, of course. That’s what I meant. From China. It is, in fact, an antique Chinese rickshaw.” He lay the cross piece down and stepped over it to help her. “All aboard.”

Losing Who is now available from Devine Destinies Books, Amazon (in print and Kindle format) and wherever fine books are sold online. And don't forget to check out books 1 and 2, Loving Who and Leaving Who, while you're at it.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

An Excerpt from Leaving Who

Calling all Whovians and rom-com fans... Now on sale, Book 2 in the Loving Who series, Leaving Who! Feel free to share the book link with others. Thank you.
Leaving Who
by Cynthianna

After traveling for six months throughout the vastness of time and space with the alien known as John Smith, Cici Connors wants to do one more thing—go home and see her friends. Homesickness is something Cici never expected to experience as a rabid Doctor Who fan, along with her deeply held desire to be a time traveler's companion, but it's real. Once back home, things aren't quite the same as Cici remembers. John's colleagues, the gorgeous Captain Mac and the femme fatale, Babbling Brook, may not be as harmless as they first appear, either. Will the imminent destruction of Earth throw a kink in Cici's plans of leaving John? Will John ever let her go?

An excerpt from Leaving Who:

“She doesn’t know?” Mac accused my lover without a glance at me. “You didn’t tell her? She doesn’t understand why you came to earth in the first place?”

John shrugged. “It never came up in conversation.”

“What never came up in conversation?” I demanded. “Will one or both of you start talking directly to me instead of around me?” They both turned and stared at me. “Thank you.”

Mac flashed a toothy smile and gave me a wink while carrying on his conversation with John. “I still can’t believe you didn’t inform such a beautiful creature that her life was in dire jeopardy--and everyone else’s on the planet.”

“Like I said, it never came up in conversation.” John continued to grin at me, but I may as well have been in the next county for all it mattered. “You can’t land on a primitive planet and tell them they’re doomed. They won’t invite you in for tea if you start a conversation with, ‘Excuse me. I have something important to tell you. You’re all going to die.’”

I jumped to my feet and shouted. “Why are we all going to die?” Several heads in the restaurant turned my direction. I sat down, blushing, and lowered my voice. "Why are we all going to die?” I repeated in a firm tone.

“Because you’re going to run out of oxygen,” Mac said calmly, his smile never wavering.

I stared at Captain Mac. “How? Due to global warming? Carbon emissions?” 

“No, a giant Hoover,” John interjected. “It’s going to suck the oxygen right out of your atmosphere.”

Mac sighed and flicked the fez tassel off John’s face. “Don’t try to make it any easier on her. She deserves to know the truth.”

Easier? We were all going to suffocate? A giant vacuum cleaner? 

“Okay, I’ll come clean.” John took my hand and squeezed it. “It’s because of us, Cici. The time traveling causes an imbalance wherever it takes place. Matter has to rearrange itself across the timelines and most of the time it means basic elements such as oxygen are moved from one place to another to rebalance the multiverse. It seems the Bygons are working for another concern that is in need of it, possibly due to their time travel throughout the universes. What better place to borrow oxygen from than Earth?”

“Surely they could find oxygen elsewhere!” I cried, trying to read into their expressions for any clues that they were joking. “Can’t they find an intergalactic Wal-mart somewhere and purchase it cheap? Why not make their own?”

Mac shrugged and tutted. “You’d think they’d do that, but in this case they’ve decided Earth’s air is quite sufficient for their needs. Right place, right price, right time.”

“I beg to differ.” There’s never a good time or place for suffocating, but then the entirety of what he said hit me. I leaned toward him. “Excuse me, but what price are these aliens paying and to whom are they paying it?”

Mac’s sexy grin faded. As the twinkle in his eye dimmed, John cleared his throat awkwardly. I turned to see an unusual blush coloring his cheeks. Oh, no.

“Don’t tell me it’s your people who are paying the Bygons to help them suck up Earth’s oxygen.” I moaned as my head dropped into my hands. “Why doesn’t this distressing revelation surprise me in the least?”

“Yes, you’ve been fraternizing with the enemy all along, Cici Connors,” John Smith declared in a quiet voice. “I can understand why you’d want to leave me, but I hope you can see why I wanted to keep you from returning home.”

Leaving Who now available at Devine Destinies Books, Amazon and wherever fine ebooks are sold.

And don't forget to read Book 1 in the series, Loving Who...

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