Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Howling Good Excerpt from Under the Midnight Sun

Now available from eXtasy Books... 

Under the Midnight Sun
by Celine Chatillon 
Penny's expedition goes pear-shaped, but her wilderness guide, Wolf, turns out to be a handsome shape-shifter with an animal magnetism she can't resist.

It's bad enough the entire archeology community thinks they're "crackpots," but after her professor suffers a medical emergency, Penny Redfern finds herself alone at the dig with their handsome wilderness guide. Suddenly she has a lot more on her mind than searching for a suspected Viking longship in the Far North  of Alaska. Wolf Weiss can't help but lust after the gorgeous Penny, but his sense of professionalism keeps him politely distant. Plus, it's a full moon, that time of the month for Wolf to howl with the pack. Not even the midnight sun will halt his urge to shift. He can't let Penny find out he's a shape-shifter—or can he? Will the free-spirited Penny find Wolf's animal magnetism too strong to resist?

An excerpt from Under the Midnight Sun:

The satellite imagery showed something boat-shaped located along this shoreline, but it couldn't possibly be an intact Viking sea vessel after all this time if it had been exposed to the elements. There was no way anyone could have buried a ship that size in the permafrost since it was just too tough to do so even in the perpetually sunny skies of July in the North. Had it been trapped in an iceberg all these centuries, only to be released from its icy prison in the recent climate warming trend? Just the thought of Viking explorers making it through the Northwest Passage and reaching the coast of Alaska would bring her the fame and attention she craved as an archeologist.

Penny quickly unbraided her hair and pulled a brush through its thick mass to clear it of some of the worst of the dust and flying debris. What she wouldn't do for a nice hot shower instead of a bath with some lukewarm water and a camp basin wash cloth. The sooner they finished surveying the area for artifacts and other signs of possible Viking activity, the sooner she could go back home to civilization as she knew it.

Before the paramedics landed, Bev had admonished her, "Cooperate with Wolf and finish our grid search. That's all you need to do, and you'll have plenty to write about for your paper. Promise."

Cooperate with Wolf.

It sounded simple enough, but something about the dark-eyed, introverted outdoorsman made her nervous. Not nervous exactly, but curious. He wasn't much older than her, she realized, but the striking silver streaks in his black beard and at his temples indicated he'd lived a stressful life or his heredity was a bit different from most. Wolf Weiss--white wolf? The translation of his name sounded like some of her Lakota cousins' names on her mother's side.

She had to admit, Wolf possessed something other males of her acquaintance lacked, a sort of animalmagnetism that had attracted her from their first meeting. While Dave was the more outspoken of the two, openly joking with her like her kid brother, Wolf had kept his distance and minded his manners. If anything, he was too damn polite. That made her nervous. How could anyone who lived in the wilderness have such refined manners? She supposed he hadn't always lived and worked in Alaska, but along with his good looks, self-assurance and few words, his mere presence intrigued her.

Better yet, he didn't wear a ring or talk about a lover back in Fairbanks or Nome or elsewhere. Penny had had enough of those two-timing types.

She wanted to know more about Wolf, but she dared not. They were both professionals. It wouldn't be professional of her to flirt with him, would it? But with the climatologists, Dave and Bev all departed, who would know they'd lapsed in their professionalism if they both kept quiet?

Penny put down her hairbrush and pulled off her hoodie, t-shirt, and bra. She soaked the washcloth in the basin and wrung it out and gave her upper torso a quick wash, taking care around her tender nipples. She was halfway through her cycle, and she knew what was happening—she was feeling extra horny because of ovulation. Any halfway decent-looking male would make her want to jump his bones and avail herself of his hard cock.

Penny realized she should be ashamed of herself, thinking of enjoying wild sex with their guide while her college advisor was deathly ill and on her way to the hospital, but she couldn't help her hormones. Poor Wolf was the only man around for miles. Her mind couldn't help spinning erotic fantasies about the shy guy. How would those whiskers feel rubbing against her skin? Would they tickle, or torment her with stimulation?

She dropped her jeans and wriggled out of her panties. Wetting the washcloth, she washed her legs and backside, slowing down as she approached her pubic area. Hmm…a little stimulation from her own hand felt good, and it would relieve the tension of being alone with the macho mountain man of few words for a few days. Penny stretched out across her camp bed and began to stroke her clit, slowly at first and then faster and harder. She tweaked her nipples with her other hand and arched her back into the rhythm of her strokes as she climaxed in a gasp of pleasure.

Relaxing for what seemed the first time in weeks, she stretched and yawned. "There are some advantages to having the yurt all to myself, after all." With that thought, she fell asleep.

Under the Midnight Sun now available from eXtasy Books!

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Doctor As Show Man and Space 1889 Cosplayer

The Doctor As Show Man and Space 1889 Cosplayer
(Spoiler Alert!)

It's been a busy two weeks, so when I finally sat down to catch up with Doctor Who, I had two episodes to watch. The first episode, The Lie of the Land, is actually part three of the two previous episodes which I found to be mediocre as best. 

Was I expecting anything better for this storyline's finale? No, not really. The Lie of the Land didn't disappoint on that respect. It was mediocre in script and well-done in acting and execution. Bill is still a strong, sympathetic character willing to lay down her life to save others, Nardole is still a loyal aide-de-camp willing to go the extra mile to help out, and the Doctor is... Well, he's a show man of sorts, selling the evil monks' "new history" to the unsuspecting public through slick commercials. Why the evil monks ever go to the extent they do to take over the world is never satisfactorily explained, including the gigantic statues of their mummy-like visages. They should have taken a lesson from the Daleks and Cybermen. Good ol' fashioned firepower and metal suits work just fine to invade Earth in Doctor Who.
Missy is seen once again in The Lie, but her cameo doesn't seem particularly necessary to the plot, as the Doctor should be able to figure things out himself with his abilities and resources. She's incarcerated in a TARDIS-styled vault and seems content to be locked up. There's hints she's not as sociopathic/psychopathic as she once was, but she's still not portrayed as a positive middle-aged female image, but rather as a figure of ridicule/hate. Actress Michelle Gomez could do better and deserves a stronger role.
The Orwellian overtones of "He who owns the past owns the future" are good in The Lie, but the overall arc of the trilogy of episodes isn't quite pulled off.  A good script editor could have helped cobble these three disparate episodes together in a more coherent and effective manner and brought out the strengths in each. As is... nice try, but it's very sad how this trilogy falls flat. At least Bill has a decent hairstyle this time out, and I enjoyed the "Maoist China" style of bland/uni-colored clothing of the populace as well as the Doctor's "worn" jacket.

Empress of Mars is a stronger episode in that it doesn't try to be anything it isn't.  The Doctor meets his old foes, the Ice Warriors. They've been updated a bit without losing their lovable "monster of the week" look about them that they've sported since the Patrick Troughton era. My husband was pleased to see the Victorian-era military men on an expedition on Mars, very reminiscent of the characters one takes on in the role playing game Space 1889. (The military costuming was accurate historically according to hubby who is an expert on such things, too.)

Why there is oxygen underground on Mars is never explained, especially since the surface is dead and there's no obvious plant life left.  The frozen/hibernating Ice Warriors are very similar to the Patrick Troughton series Cybermen who were hibernating on Mondas in a pyramid-like set-up. 

Hmm... Pyramids and spacesuits seem to be returning images in this season, as the Doctor and Bill have been seen in spacesuits in Empress of Mars, Oxygen and in underwater diving suits in Thin Ice. The evil monks have a spacecraft (I assume that's what it is since it "flies") that's pyramid-shaped in Nemesis, The Pyramid at the End of the World,  and The Lie of the Land. Is there some kind of connection we're suppose to make with the reoccurring imagery? I have to say, Peter looks great in a form-hugging spacesuit. I hope the hoodie look has been put to rest for good.

With only a few more episodes to go in Peter Capaldi's last year as the Doctor, fingers crossed we get another Mark Gatiss-written story. What's your take on these last episodes? Please write your comments below. Thanks.
 Can't get enough of the man in the spacesuit, can you? :)

Coming Soon... My other persona's  Loving Who series from Devine Destinies Books!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Doctor Who--and Loving Who--Return!

Doctor Who--and Loving Who--Return!
It's been a while since I wrote about the Doctor, but this month I have something to write about concerning both the latest series premiere and the re-release of my original Doctor Who-inspired series, Loving Who. (This is a PG to PG-13 rated series, so I'm writing under my Cynthianna pen name.)

My wacky sci-fi romantic-comedies, beginning with the novel Loving Who, are no longer in print from their former publisher (due to a change in business model). The good news is they will be re-released with new cover art and new editing in all new editions from Devine Destinies Books. I'm excited because I really enjoyed revisiting my old friends Cici Connors and the alien John Smith from Loving Who, Leaving Who and Losing Who. I know a lot of new Whovians will enjoy their wild adventures in time, space and fandom, too. I can't wait to introduce them to these new Who-fans.

I don't have an exact release date yet for the first title, but I'll let you know when I do. In the meantime, I'd like to ask you favor... Would you be interested in reading and writing a short review of Loving Who and then posting your review to Amazon and Goodreads? I'd sincerely appreciate it, as the old reviews posted there will no longer be associated with the new release. So, if you're interested, please email me at cynthianna @ (no spaces) and let me know if you're able to help me out with a review. Thanks.

Now onto the quickie review of the opening episode, The Pilot. I must say Peter Capaldi is looking great and  seems very relaxed in the role of the Doctor. His hiding out at a university and teaching physics seems up the Doctor's alley, and it gave me a flashback to the partially filmed Douglas Adams' story, Shada, where the Doctor met an old friend who was hanging out as a professor at an English university. The TARDIS in the corner of his well-appointed office fits the decor perfectly.

The reasons why the Doctor has settled down for a spell to teach--and why the alien Nardole is still with him--aren't given, but I'm willing to give it a pass for now. The university professor situation is intriguing,  and the young woman he meets and encourages to study science is intriguing as well. "Bill" isn't your typical college co-ed, as she's not officially a student, and yet she's bright and eager to learn. (After seeing say some rather dumb lines in the trailers, I wasn't sure if I would like her, but she's much more intelligent than those short blurbs indicate. Whew!) About the only criticism I have of Bill after the first story is her horrible taste in clothing and unkempt hairstyle. Nothing she wears is flattering for her body type, in my opinion. I hope the costume and makeup department get to work on improving her look.

We learn in snippets that Bill (Pearl Mackie) is a foster child and never knew her mother. She's a sympathetic character and seems to have the ambition to make something of herself despite her poor circumstances. The Doctor and Nardole (Matt Lucas) seem to be protecting a "vault" in the basement of the building where the Doctor's office is located, but for what reason and from whom are still a mystery. The opening story isn't overly complicated, but it flows at a good pace and introduces Bill and the audience to the TARDIS and the idea that the Doctor is much more than meets the eye. This is always a good way to restart a series after it's been in hiatus for a while.

I'm looking forward to episode two, and hopeful Moffat doesn't derail the more positive and helpful Doctor to bring back his morose persona of the past seasons. Peter Capaldi announced this will be his last year to play the Doctor, and I'd rather he go out on a high note than a low one, wouldn't you? Fingers crossed!
P.S. My short story, If You Give a Time Traveler a Cookie, featuring Cici and John from Loving Who, will also be available from Devine Destinies. Keep it tuned here for details.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Sherlock--This is The End?

Sherlock: This is The End?
(Caution: Spoilers)

I thought I'd write a quick review of Sherlock: The Final Problem since my Doctor Who reviews get quite a few reads. I have enjoyed this mystery series loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories over all, but this last (and it seems to be the very last) episode was quite a let down on many levels.

I realize that the leads, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, are very busy actors and very much in demand these days, but it's not that fact which was a let down for me. It was the fact that, since this was probably the very last episode for the duo as Holmes and Watson, it should have been of higher quality to match their terrific performances over the years.

What to really say about The Final Problem? It was simply... a problem for me. It didn't come across as a mystery worthy of the great detective, but a gimmicky, cheap shot at trying to hook an audience with gratuitous violence and silliness. Previous episodes were based on the classic Sherlock Holmes short stories or novellas, and they seemed to work fine with their 21st century twists. This time, there was none of the charm of Conan Doyle's original characters coming through in the writing. 

Instead, we were presented with the portrait of an adult female with mental illness that was less than flattering. Somehow she is Sherlock's older sister that he never knew he had, which, of course, is not canon. Misogynistic portrayals of women characters is a problem area for producer/co-writer Steven Moffat.  It has been written about by yours truly (see my Doctor Who reviews from a year or so back) as well several other feminists. 

Why Mr. Moffat comes across as "tone deaf" when it comes to writing female characters is a mystery in itself, but it is a consistent problem he has in most of his scripts. He views women as objects to be used to further plots, but they have few, if any, positive characteristics. Psychopathic and sadistic Euros is the winner of  "The Universe's Worst Woman of All Times Award." She has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. (Correction: My husband reminded me Euros is an excellent violin player. She does have one redeeming quality.)

Other female characters aren't depicted much better in this script. Poor Molly, who has had a crush on Sherlock all these years, is shamed by Euros's trickery and made to feel bad about her love for Sherlock. He, in turn, is ashamed of his affection towards her. How "unromantic" and "un-gallant" is that?

Shooting and drowning unarmed and tied-up hostages is Euros's idea of fun. She's supposed to be related by blood to Sherlock, Mycroft and their seemingly very gentle parents? (I guess the violin playing ability demonstrates the shared genetics?)  If we had never met Sherlock's parents before in a Christmas story and seen them as "human," maybe we could have believed they spawned a she-demon in Euros. But we have seen their parents, and they came across as "normal." So, there's no real satisfactory explanation of how Euros's psychosis came about and why Sherlock and Mycroft are not also insane. 

Five year olds don't usually become "The Bad Seed" all on their own. It takes quite a lot to drive any person to those types of behaviors. Children who are physically, mentally and sexually abused over and over again can suffer a mental break down and act out violently. Are Moffat and Gatiss in their co-authored tale implying all three of the Holmes children had a horrific and abusive childhood?

Yes, it's a real let down of a story. To be fair, I'm looking at it as a professional writer and a person with a psychology degree and some knowledge of what abuse can do to the individual. But honestly, there was nothing particularly uplifting, redeeming or even accurate in any of the character portrayals as written. This lack of logic in the story wasn't enjoyable.

I really do enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman's Dr. Watson and Mark Gatiss's Mycroft Holmes. They are superb actors. I was  looking forward to a better send-off for all three characters. Let's hope they have the time and energy to make at least one more positive and hopeful Holmes-like mystery so I can forget this episode as easily as Sherlock can forget his young friend whom Euros chained to the bottom of a well. 

(However did a five year old girl  managed this physical task is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Holmes helped her dispatch and chain up the little boy, and they truly are monsters? Ugh.)


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Very Vampire Christmas is here!

How do you cheer up your vampire lover around the holiday season? Melynda wonders if maybe a few new traditions of their own are in order to bring a smile to Val's bite. Mel's time-traveling cousin Shelby and her horny boyfriend Quentin add to the fun of the season with their own brand of wild and free activities. Mel and Shel find it's time to get on Santa's "naughty girl" list. Ho, ho, ho!

Available now for download at eXtasy Books:

 Featuring Melynda and Val from my novel The Vampire Next Door and Shelby and Quentin from the Time Surfer series.