Saturday, May 23, 2015

Special Moments That Inspire Love--Read My Sexy Saturday Excerpt

Welcome to another edition of My Sexy Saturday. This week's theme is "My Sexy Love" and is about those special moments that inspire romance. Well, for every couple in the universe there's going to be the one unique special moment that sparked their love for each other, isn't there? Think of all the zillions of possibilities! That's what makes the romance genre so much fun to read and write. ;)

Love wasn't even part of their game plans, so how did single mom Cassie and out-of-work Mike know they were destined for each other? What special moment inspired them to reach out and take a chance on love? Find out in this short excerpt from The Fixer-Uppers.

The Fixer-Uppers

"An exceptional writer with a flair for humor." --Romance Reviews Today

Can a single mom find happiness on a blind date--or at least dinner with a male who can cut up his own food? Cassie and Mike believe they're "in like" not "in love." But when down-on-his-luck Mike is evicted, Cassie takes him into her home. Mike starts fixing everything from window screens to her two boys' broken hearts. Will Cassie let him fix hers?

Excerpt set up: Mike tries to stop Cassie from going on a date with another man. He finds her ironing her dress for the evening and does his best to convince her to stay home--with him.

Cassie felt warm all over. The room seemed to be swaying beneath her feet. She coughed to clear her suddenly dry throat.  “Yeah, it’s a nice robe.” The room began to spin as she breathed in deeply the masculine scent of him. “I don’t wear it around much since it has the tendency to slide off me at the most inconvenient times.” 

Mike’s lips lightly brushed against her earlobe. “Show me,” he whispered.

Cassie’s knees turned to liquid. She knew she had to get a grip on herself, turn the conversation around somehow. . . But she couldn’t. A moment later the acrid smell of burning cloth brought her back to reality.  “Mike?”
He nuzzled her earlobe again. “Hmm, yes?”

She opened one eye slowly. “I think we’ve ruined my dress.”

“I’ll get you a new one.” He took the iron from her and yanked the plug from the wall.

“What’ll I wear tonight then?” she moaned.

 He put the iron down and slowly turned her to face him.  “Remember? I like what you’ve got on now.” Pulling her closer, he gently kissed her lips. 

Find out more about Cassie and Mike's special moments in The Fixer-Uppers, available from Devine Destinies Books, Amazon, All Romance eBooks and wherever fine ebooks are sold!
 Have a great My Sexy Saturday blog hop!

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Blurbs In Bloom: Losing Who

Blurbs In Bloom: Losing Who

Losing Who is featured at Blurbs in Bloom this week!  Check out the excerpt at the link above.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I Pirated a Book

Sponsored by 50 Shades of Great(ness)

I Pirated a Book

Lyrics by Cindy A. Matthews (Sung to the tune of I Started a Joke by the Bee Gees)

I pirated a book
Which started the author crying
But I didn't see
That the joke was on me, oh no
Downloaded the book
Which started the hackers laughing
Oh, if I'd only seen
That the pirates had me
I looked at my files
Running my hands over my eyes
I fell out of my chair
Hitting the screen from things that I'd seen
‘Til my machine was fried
Which started the hackers laughing
Oh, if I'd only seen
That the pirates had me
I looked at my files
Running my hands over my eyes
And I started to cry
Hitting the screen from things that I'd seen
My device’s totally fried
Which started the authors writing
Oh, if I'd only seen, oh yeah
That the pirates had me, oh no
That the pirates had me, oh…

(Copyright 2015 by Cindy A. Matthews. Please do not re-post without my permission. With apologies to the incomparable Robin Gibb. Can’t you just hear him singing this in his emotion-filled falsetto?)

Why this filk of a classic Bee Gees’ song? The idea came to me one evening after a fellow author shared a link to a book pirate site where thousands of books (ebooks and print)  were being pirated. Guess what? Every single title that I had ever published (fiction, non-fiction, and children’s) was being pirated there. From my dwindling sales, I never realized how popular I was!

If you don’t know what “pirating books” (or ebooks, films, songs, etc.) means, it means that someone or some group of persons has stolen the electronic files of my books and were posting them without my permission or my publishers’ permission. Stolen books given away for free don’t make the author any royalties. This means the writer/publisher isn’t getting paid for the stolen copies. This is lost revenue that the government never gets to tax.

And before you make the argument that libraries “give away free ebooks all the time,” remember that libraries pay for their ebook copies. The library has purchased the rights to have the ebook on their electronic shelves for check out for certain number of downloads, and then they have to repurchase the ebook—like a worn out print book would need to be replaced. You can see that pirate web sites and libraries aren’t the same thing.

 To put it bluntly, pirate web sites aren’t legal and pirating books is outright theft. You wouldn’t walk into a Wal-Mart, Penney’s or a Target store and start jamming things into your coat pockets and walk out without paying for these items, would you? That sort of activity is called shoplifting, and when they catch you doing it they arrest you. The same goes with ebooks…They should be bought and paid for via legal channels, not stolen or pirated and given away without the expressed permission of the authors/publishers. (If you don’t get caught with the pirated materials, they can’t prosecute you, right? Read on and find out how you'll be punished. It’s worse.)

So, what does ebook piracy mean to me as an author? It means that people feel they can steal from me and other authors with impunity. Pirated books aren't counted as sales by my publishers, so I don't get paid for these lost copies. Authors are being robbed every minute of every day, and it's almost impossible to stop. Once you tell the pirate site to stop listing your books illegally and to remove them immediately, two more will pop up in its place and do the same. It's never ending. The only way it will stop is if readers will voluntarily stop pirating books and sharing pirated books.

Now you know why I don't write more books—I can’t afford to do so. I have to work several jobs to keep the heat on in the winter and food in the pantry. I hope you realize how hard things like this hit home to a struggling author. My books are obviously good enough to steal, but you don't want to support me in my career, huh? How would you feel if you were a carpenter or a hair stylist or painter and people came to you and wanted free products and services? You'd be upset. You wouldn't be able to support your family if people expected free things from you constantly and refused to pay you for your time. It’s no joke when people rob you, is it? 

Same here. 

Think before you pirate. Support your favorite authors—and your starving friends who are authors. Buy our books! I promise it will be worth your while. How so?

Recall what I mentioned earlier about shoplifting and punishment… When you think about it, you pay on average a couple of dollars (usually less than ten bucks) for an ebook file purchased from a legitimate web site, right? If you think that’s too expensive, think about all the wonderful viruses/trojans/and phishing scams that will be downloaded directly to your computer or computing device whenever you download an ebook from a pirate web site. 

Yes, you can receive a lot more than just a “free” stolen ebook installed onto your device! For example, the pirate site where I found my books listed recently was riddled with malicious viruses according to several knowledgeable sources. It was riddled with things that can hack into your computer and steal personal information such as your credit card numbers, address, social security numbers… Identity theft, anyone?

Pirated ebook files are far from clean or safe, and your computing device will pay the ultimately penalty when it seizes up and fries as my song says. It’s only a matter of time. “There’s no honor among thieves,” as the old saying goes. Every pirated download is like engaging in unprotected sex with a stranger, and the next virus could prove deadly. How much money will it cost you to fix your virus-riddled computing device? Hundreds of dollars or more, and in the end, you might simply have to throw it out and replace it. Talk about expensive!

And all because you wanted to steal a two dollar book instead of purchasing it through a legitimate site… The joke is on you, and the malware hackers are laughing their butts off all the way back to China, Russia, North Korea or wherever their thieves’ den may be located. You fell for their bait!

Feeling smart now?

Remember: Friends don’t let friends download or share pirated books. Not if they want to remain friends, that is. Don’t let your song become a sad one—resist ebook piracy.

You can legally pirate this book. I'm giving it away FREE.   

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Crafting Great Story Openings (Story Hooks)


If most people could sum up their typical day in one word, overwhelming might be at the top of the list.

Think about your typical day. You have places to go, people to see, bills to pay, children to feed, spouses to listen to, bosses to deal with, appointments to make, and other unexpected diversions (some pleasant and some not-so-pleasant) coming at you from all sides. You really could use a break to relax and unwind, but it’s got to be a quick one because you don’t have much time. You have things to do!

What does the mad pace and constant rush of our current culture got to do with writing fiction? To put it succinctly—everything. A writer doesn’t have much time to get the twenty-first century reader hooked into a story before the reader realizes he/she has a million other things to do and puts the book (or Kindle) down to go tackle the to-do list. If you want to entice readers to pick up your book and keep turning pages—even when the kids are yelling for supper—then you’ve got to create a strong interest in your story and characters quickly using a bare minimum of words.

“But wait,” I hear some of you saying. “I have to tell the reader all about this wonderful world I’ve created first. I have to tell them about the planet’s terrain and the weather conditions, and the fantastic hairstyles they all have, and how the price of coffee affects who they vote for to become their supreme dictator…” 

I have just one word of advice about this sort of thing: Don’t.

The opening lines and pages of a story have one purpose only—to grab readers by the heartstrings and make them care about a character and the circumstances this character finds himself or herself in. If you’re using the opening pages to describe the weather, how are readers supposed to come to care for your character and his/her story? The reader wants to connect immediately with a character and experience his/her pain, joy, fear, or anxiety. The details of the setting can wait. Get us cheering for a character first.

One of the best ways to hook a reader is by starting in the middle of a scene that illustrates the character’s “journey”—a physical and/or emotional journey. In other words, the character from the very first line is about to take an action or make a decision that will change the course of his/her life. It can be as big as saving an entire star system or it can be more intimate like deciding whether or not to go on a blind date (the premise of one of my novels). Whatever the action, don’t start at the “absolute beginning” and list all the minute details, but rather start somewhere in the middle of the scene closer to the point when the character makes the decision that will propels him or her on a journey. 
What's missing from this pretty picture? Maybe it's a "who"? 
You need a character in your opening scene, not just scenery.

Let’s say your heroine has already decided to go on the blind date. The first scene could show her getting ready for the hero to arrive at her front door, and he’s more than an hour late. Think emotions. What is going through her head right now? Fear? Boredom? Frustration? Did he back out at the last minute? Was he killed in a car accident? There are many emotions your heroine could be feeling, so choose one and start with it. Here’s the first line I’d go with:

“Some blind date he is—how dare he keep me waiting!” 

There’s a hint of frustration there, isn’t there? And possibly a little fear or worry. But as you can tell, I didn’t describe what my heroine is wearing or how she fixed her hair or even give her name. All those things can wait. The first line doesn’t need details—it needs to help your reader identify with a character and feel his/her emotions as if they were the reader’s own. If you’ve ever felt stood up while waiting for your date to arrive, I bet you can relate.

My next paragraph might be:

Rachel stomped her foot and growled at the back of her front door. It had been at least six weeks since her co-worker caught her in the break room crying over Billy dumping her. Why had she allowed Maddie to set her up on this stupid blind date with her bumpkin cousin who didn’t seem to own a watch? Did she really seem all that desperate?  On Monday morning, Rachel vowed to give Maddie a piece of her mind!

You’ll notice that a first scene doesn’t need to tell the reader tons of background information. By showing the reader what is happening in the hearts and minds of your characters, the back story will come through. Keep in mind that fiction writers aren’t “storytellers”. In reality, writers are “story show-ers”.  If you show your characters living their lives through their words and actions, you will never need to tell how they feel or bore readers with dry details. Your readers will experience your story through the character’s emotions and reactions to the situation. Your readers will live the scene through your characters…

And then you’ll have hooked them into your fictional world and the fascinating characters who inhabit it and the relationships they experience. The soup may boil over and the boss may keep texting, but your readers won’t want to put your book down because they have been caught up in a whirlwind of emotions and feel as if they’ve truly come alive inside your story. Now, that’s a great hook.

For more easy-to-follow tips on how to impress an editor and get your manuscript published,  read Defeating the Slushpile Monster.
Available for the Kindle at and in print at

If you're looking for a freelance editor, send me an email with the subject line of "Editorial Services" at  

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Have you lost your mind? An excerpt from Losing Who

Welcome to another edition of the "My Sexy Saturday" blog hop tour. This week's theme is "Their Sexy Talk" and it's all about how lovers relate to each other. Hmm... What one couple finds "sexy" made be very different from what another couple finds romantic, but it takes all kinds of people to build a world, doesn't it?

Here's a  seven paragraph excerpt from my latest release from Mojocastle Press, Losing Who. When you're forced to wipe the memory of your lover in order to save her world, what can you to say to convince her that you still care about her? This is the dilemma alien time traveler John Smith faces with his human girlfriend Cici in this excerpt scene.

Losing Who
Book 3 in the Loving Who series

Cici Connors is losing her mind—or is she? John Smith vows to return her memories, but will his sci-fi convention only attract an invasion of Earth by artificially intelligent life forms?  

From Mojocastle Press 
Also available at Amazon, All Romance eBooks and wherever fine ebooks are sold.

(Excerpt set-up: A telepathic conversation between lovers John and Cici, wherein he tries to explain why he had to blank her memories.)

The time lines…They got a bit muddy. We had to undo them and start afresh in order to keep the universe from exploding. You’re sensitive to how the time lines flow, Cici, but you’re not one of us who can step totally out of time and look at them objectively. So, you’ve got to trust me on this point—you know me from before, and I’ve come back for you against the wishes of my own kind.

Some of what he was relating to her mind made sense. Cici had felt these past few days as if she’d been yanked out of time and thrust back into it at another spot against her will. She sensed that the clock had been turned back and that she was reliving the same days again, only this time with a slightly different cast of characters in a completely different situation. You’re risking your own safety to be with me? she wondered.

I am. I’m risking your safety, too. That’s why I wanted to confess as soon as you seemed able to deal with this knowledge. If you want me out of your time line, I’ll go, Cici. But before I go, I wanted you to know that it wasn’t my idea to leave you behind in the first place.

You want to be with me? Cici felt tears burning beneath her eyelids, but she couldn’t find either her eyes or her tissue to wipe them away.

My kind doesn’t know what romance or love means really, but I think I’ve learned more about it since we met. It’s why I came back for you.

Damn… You’ve wrecked my cynicism. She felt the warmth of a sun upon her cheek like a kiss of an angel. Anything is possible, isn’t it, John Smith?

She heard a soft chuckle then, It is when you love someone, Cici Connors. Love makes all things possible.

Losing Who is available from Mojocastle Press  
Read more excerpts from the Loving Who series at my fiction web site:

Book 1 Loving Who                                                                                                               Book 2 Leaving Who

And don't forget to sign up for my e-newsletter--I'm giving away a FREE ORIGINAL EBOOK to all subscribers featuring a story with John Smith and Cici Connors. (The sign up form is located on the right sidebar. I just need your email. Thanks!)

Have a great My Sexy Saturday!