AuThursday – A J Matthews

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a British author living in NW Ohio with my wife, fellow author Cindy A Matthews. I enjoy writing (of course!), gardening and cooking. 

How do you make time to write? 

I’m lucky to have my own office space which I can retreat to and work in undisturbed for at least a couple of hours most afternoons. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, it can happen. I found that if a plot refuses to move on, more often than not an idea for a later scene in the book presents itself. Working on those later scenes gets them out of my head and always suggests ways in which the tricky scene can be resolved. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write murder-mysteries set in the 1920’s. There’s something deeply satisfying in crafting the plot and interweaving story-lines to reach a conclusion that-hopefully-the reader won’t guess at too easily from the get-go. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? Traditional. My books are available in e-format and also POD. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work? 

Introvert, definitely. I prefer to stay back and observe rather than get involved in things. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Butt on chair, fingers on keyboard. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Never give up. Listen to advice but have the courage to use your own ideas if you believe them to be better. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://ajays-blog.blogspot.com/ 

https://twitter.com/AdrianJMatthews 

https://www.facebook.com/A-J-Matthews-1472379789644822 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

From A Fool in the Marketplace, Book 4 of the Veronica Nash murder-mystery series. 

NIGHTFLIGHTTOBABYLONThe cheering grew in volume. Veronica saw the small shapes of the approaching sculls, the white water thrown up by the oars glistening in the sun. 

“An interesting race, this,” Ben went on. “That chap in the lead, Morris, has a crooked right arm. It’s admirable the way he can wield an oar with his fin all bent like that.” 

“Indeed,” Veronica murmured. 

“You should pop up to Oxford when I return for Michaelmas term, Ronnie.” The dazzling smile was directed at her again. “I’m often out on the Isis with the chaps.” 

“Wouldn’t it be rather boring, Jim-jam?” Claire inquired. “Where’s the fun in watching a band of students thrashing about on the river?” 

Ben put on an air of hurt dignity but Veronica could see the twinkle in his bright blue eyes. “One does not thrash at Oxford. We row with great dignity and style.” 

“Until you catch a crab and fall in the Isis,” Claire retorted then poked out her tongue at him. Veronica saw Lord Desborough taking his leave. With a tip of his straw boater to the ladies he hurried down the gangplank to the riverbank and strode toward the VIP stand. Claire’s second-oldest brother, Edward, watched him go with a thoughtful expression. 

She couldn’t quite make Edward out. A stocky, earnest, bookish young man with a full reddish blond beard, he wore thick spectacles and dark, neat and sober attire. He’d been so stiff and formal at his family’s combined Christmas and Hanukkah celebration. In spite of being in his mid-twenties and therefore not much older than she, Edward had a donnish air more suited to a much older man. 

At that moment he turned and she looked away before she met his eye. He seemed rather too interested in me last Christmas. Ben’s infatuation is more than enough for me to cope with right now. 

She saw His Lordship’s secretary Jacob Levine, a dark handsome man in his early forties looking at her from where he stood smoking a cheroot at the other end of the deck. Unseen by Edward and Ben he gave her a wry smile and jerked his head at the two younger men as if to say boys will be boys. Veronica smiled and nodded back, liking Levine’s quiet demeanour. 

Gabriel and his date put their drinks on the trestle table and moved to the railing, Gabriel’s arm sliding around Elizabeth’s waist in a proprietorial fashion. He appeared rather flushed. Veronica wondered how much drink he’d taken aboard. Lady Sibfield-Murray stood somewhat behind the couple, a calculating look on her face. Her husband joined her as everybody stood to watch the single sculls negotiate the closing stretch of the course. 

Claire stood close to Veronica’s right, Ben to her left, his interest in her plain enough. She smiled at him. My, but he’s a handsome beggar. He turned his head and gazed down at her, his burly form almost blocking her view downriver. And he seems really smitten by me. Oh dear. 

Claire’s lips twitched as she gave her a sidelong look. Veronica guessed her brother’s puppyish interest hadn’t gone unnoticed. She smiled back. Were I not with Claire, I would be tempted. 

The party cheered as the single sculls approached. The leader by a clear three lengths or so was the delightfully-named Morris Morris wielding the blue dashed oars of the London Rowing Club. His rival D. Gollan, wielding the light pink blades of Leander, put on a last spurt of effort but failed to close the gap. Morris shot across the finishing line to the accompaniment of a resounding cheer. 

“Crikey, what a terrific finish!” Ben crowed, punching the air. “I must see if I can have a word with that chap later.” Veronica noticed Gabriel shake his head at his brother’s words and move back to the table with the drinks. He picked up an egg and cress sandwich and examined it before taking a large bite. She noticed his complexion had turned puce. What a sourpuss to take no delight in another man’s achievement. 

A shout of alarm went up from behind her. Veronica spun around and saw the winning oarsman had fallen in the river. “Good gracious, whatever happened?” 

“The poor chap’s exhausted,” Claire’s father said, coming up to lean on the railing and peer at the scene. “I’ve never seen 

anything like it. He just toppled out of his scull.” 

They watched as two of the Conservancy officials’ boats manoeuvred to rescue the man. Between them they managed to get Morris into the motor launch. A heartfelt cheer of relief went up. 

Something thumped hard on the deck behind Veronica. 

“Gabriel? What’s wrong? Gabriel!” Elizabeth’s voice rose to a shriek. The party turned as one to look. Gabriel flopped on the deck, eyes staring, his face turning bright pink. His hands pawed at his throat and chest, as if he were desperate for air. Elizabeth knelt beside him, frantic hands clutching at his. A spurt of foamy vomit shot from Gabriel’s open lips to splatter her peach-coloured dress and she uttered another shriek. 

“Good God!” Lord Sibfield-Murray dashed across the deck as his wife stood paralysed, her hands to her mouth. Levine joined him, kneeling on Gabriel’s other side to loosen his tie and shirt collar. 

“Let me through!” someone shouted. “I’m a doctor.” 

One of the guests unceremoniously pushed His Lordship aside and set to work. Veronica couldn’t remember the man being introduced to her. Levine got up and moved back to let him work. Feet clattered on the gangplank as someone dashed ashore in search for help. 

Everyone watched, eyes wide with shock as the man fought to save Gabriel Sibfield-Murray with what appeared to be professional competence. It seemed touch and go. The young man fought for life with every ounce of his being. Veronica felt Claire take her left hand in a tight grip. A second later Ben’s arm slipped around her waist. She could hear Claire’s breathing, light and quick, almost panicky. 

Gabriel ceased his struggles and turned ominously still. A frozen silence fell upon the yacht. The doctor straightened and stood up with a sad expression. “So sorry, old man. I’m afraid I’ve lost him.” Lady Sibfield-Murray uttered a soft scream and collapsed onto the deck. Before her husband could react the doctor dashed with nimble speed across the deck and took Lord Sibfield-Murray by the elbow, steering him to one side. Veronica stood close enough to overhear the doctor’s soft, urgent words. 

“David, old man, I believe your son was poisoned. We must summon the police.” 

Cover Reveal – Finding Forever with You by S.L. Sterling


Title: Finding Forever With You

Series: The Malone Brothers Book #4
Author: S.L. Sterling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 29, 2020

Cover Design: Opium House Creatives



 

My best friend Sophie was gorgeous, at times uptight and desperate.
 
Her biological clock was ticking and after yet another failed relationship she pulled me aside.
 
“Listen Chase, you know I adore you and you know I need you. Historically, you always come through for me.” She swallowed hard while I listened. “It’s no secret that I want a baby, the semi old fashioned way.”
 
I nodded not really believing what I was hearing.
 
“I want you to do it.”
 
“You want my swimmers?”
 
“Yes, through natural injection.”
 
Sex with my best friend. The best friend I had once upon a time wanted in a bad way.
 
“Don’t worry, I’ve got this covered,” I assured her. She looked relieved and maybe even a little excited.
 
Seven Days, Six nights, and lots of sex. What more could I want?
 
Oh right. A way to turn this into forever so I could raise my child too.

 
 
S.L. Sterling was born and raised in southern Ontario. She now lives in Northern Ontario Canada and is married to her best friend and soul mate and their two dogs. 

 

An avid reader all her life, S.L. Sterling dreamt of becoming an author. She decided to give writing a try after one of her favorite authors launched a course on how to write your novel. This course gave her the push she needed to put pen to paper and her debut novel “It Was Always You” was born. 

When S.L. Sterling isn’t writing or plotting her next novel she can be found curled up with a cup of coffee, blanket and the newest romance novel from one of her favorite authors on her e-reader. Her favorite authors include Kendall Ryan, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Lauren Blakely, Alessandra Torre and Willow Winters. 

In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, sunny destinations, spending quality time with family and friends and of course reading.

 

 

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Saturday Spotlight – Twisted Devil by Lynn Burke

Title: Twisted Devil
Series: Vicious Vipers #4
Author: Lynn Burke
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: April 23, 2020
Cover Design: Designs by L~
Hacking is my specialty, extortion my means of keeping the Vicious Vipers MC in the money. I’m a devil who thrives on forcing sinners to atone for their corrupt ways since the one who damaged my soul escaped punishment.
When a battered, too-young woman shows up at our club searching for sanctuary, finding a way through her walls becomes my obsession. She ties my stomach in knots—and I know she’ll be the key to unraveling them.
My plan to possess her abides by the law, but my thirst for her torments my restraint. I’ll risk it all to show her she has worth, to claim her as my property.
She believes she’s tainted. Stained.
I’ll move heaven and hell to make her see we can be beautifully broken—together.
*This is the fourth book in the Vicious Vipers MC series and may be unsuitable for someone under 18 years of age. HEA guaranteed, however, secondary characters make appearances in other’s stories. Reading in order is recommended.
“So far it’s shaping up to be way more than we can handle on our own,” I told Vigil, Ryker, and the other officers standing with me, the cold brew in my hand almost as distracting as Dasia standing on the other side of the lawn. “Too big an operation, too many crooked fingers in the pot.”
“Figured it would be,” Ricky muttered with his usual downer tone while the others stayed quiet.
“I’m going to keep digging,” I continued, fighting to keep my focus on Vigil rather than the gorgeous red-head across the lawn. “Pile up a shitload of evidence the FBI can’t seem to find on their own. It’s out there. I just got to find it all, make sure not a single fucker in the sex slave trade here in New England escapes unnoticed.”
“We’re definitely out of this one,” he said. ‘We’ve got too many old ladies and children around here that need protecting.”
Ryker grumbled something under his breath, catching Vigil’s glare as though he’d heard the words I hadn’t.
“I know it’s personal for you, having taken Dasia in,” Vigil told him, “but this time, we’re gonna have to let the law take it into their own hands.”
“I’d like to go after that Ivan fucker,” Ryker said, glancing toward where I could feel Dasia’s stare.
“Right there with ya,” I agreed and swigged my beer.
Ryker glanced at me. “She’s in my house,” he snipped. “My care. Under my protection. Might as well be my own fucking kid. If she wasn’t going to be eighteen in a couple of weeks, Pia would probably have us adopting her ass. She doesn’t need or want any sexual advances from a twisted fuck like you. Keep your goddamn paws off.”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time.”
We stared at one another while I swigged again, and tension rose from the brothers with us.
“The fuck is going on?” Vigil asked.
“Daddy-o here, thinks I’m going to talk Dasia into a little kink. Tie her up and fuck her ass raw.”
Ryker’s glare turned murderous, his shoulders hitching higher, but I knew he wouldn’t come after me with all the brothers around.
“See, thing is,” I grinned without taking my focus off his flushed face, “the girl makes me hard as fuck—but she’s only seventeen and off limits. While I’m fond as fuck of breaking the law when it comes to computers and extortion—” I flatlined my lips “—I’m not a dick. The last thing I want to do is hurt a young woman who’s been hurt enough already.”
A muscle in Ryker’s jaw twitched his beard.
“She might not want or need a fuck buddy right now, but I am going to be her friend if she’ll let me, Ryker,” I told him, dead fucking serious. “And if months down the road she decides she wants to be more, I’m sure as fuck going to give her whatever her little heart desires. She seems the type worth waiting for, and I’m not going to let you or any other Vipers stand in my way of getting my name tattooed over her heart if I can talk her sweet ass into letting me in.”
Our stare down lasted for a few more seconds before I clinked my bottle against his and sauntered off, having said my piece, stating my intentions, all but letting the boys know I wanted her—and planned to keep her, given the chance.
© Lynn Burke 2020
Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.
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