Welcome, Cindy. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
For the past twenty-six years, my life has whirled around a song and a dance: I have been a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack.
Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is much more…racy. The drama is outrageous--not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do, but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.
I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid, turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!
Please tell us about your current release, Hot Coco.
Coco Beardmore is sizzling hot and she’s landed in Mike West’s Lap. The problem is Coco’s middle name is chaos! Her driving skills are a real bang--into Mike’s horse trailer, and her sultry seduction will set the room on fire--the kitchen that is.
What’s worse is her Thoroughbreds' ability to mimic their owner’s habit of screwing things up. It’s enough to drive a normally calm and collected Mike West to the very edge.
But Mike’s not the only one having problems with women. His father, Eric, has taken on more than he can chew, and he’s about to get spit out by two women: one that he’s in love with and one that thinks he’s in love with her.
Oh yeah, things are hot around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm… and someone’s about to get burned!
What inspired you to write this book?
Blondes—everyone loves to think of gorgeous blondes as klutzy, air-headed, and basically stupid. I wanted to take a character and introduce her as one thing, and then morph her into another. I think I did a very good job with Coco. I started her out as a stereotypical blonde bimbo and turned her into something else—no, I’m not going to tell you what, but just know that everyone is touched and changed in this story—read between the lines, watch the subtext, it is there for you—if you pay attention.
I also left behind bread crumbs of my former life as a dancer/choreographer in this book—you will see them—I couldn’t resist!
Excerpt. From Chapter 7 -- Margie O’Conner desperately needs to talk with Mike, but after a disastrous race with one of Coco’s horses, she decides to put it off. She bumps into Coco in the racetrack parking lot, literally...
Hidden among the hundreds of cars in the dark parking lot, Margie listened to the race that she knew Mike had a horse in on the radio in her father’s truck. She wanted to catch him after the race to talk to him. She didn’t want him to be caught off-guard. Doug was seething mad about something that never took place between them. After what happened during the race, she thought it best to try and warn him later.
She turned the key on the ignition and the old, rickety truck rumbled to a start. Then she heard a soft bing. Looking down on the dash, she noticed the door ajar light glowing in the darkness. Taking a firm hold of the handle, she shouldered the door hard and jerked it all the way open. Suddenly there was a yelp, and a hard thump. Perplexed by the sound, she peered out the window to find Coco in a puddle on the pavement. Stunned, she pushed the door open and jumped from the truck.
“Oh my God, Coco, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there.” She grabbed her by the arm and hoisted her to her feet.
Slightly dazed, Coco was soaked from her shoulder blades to her buttocks. “I was trying to make it to see the race.” Trying to focus, she rubbed her head. “Did she do good?”
Margie wasn’t so sure that she wanted to be the bearer of the big flop. “Well, she could’ve done better.” she said with a wince. “Are you okay?”
Coco ran her fingers through her hair while taking in her drenched clothing, “I think so...”
Margie couldn’t believe how beautiful this woman looked even when sopping wet and disheveled. Even though she hadn’t been knocked to the ground and wasn’t sopping wet, she always looked disheveled and undone.
Envy scraped down Margie’s spine, burned through her gut, and into her soul. Coco had never been anything but kind and sweet to her, and she had no right to feel badly toward her; but she was struggling to slash through the pit of jealousy she couldn’t help but fall into.
“You should get out of those wet clothes. They’re pretty filthy too,” she said while watching Coco twist and turn to gauge the damage.
“I really wanted to see Mike,” she moaned.
Margie thought about the stubborn mare sitting in the starting gate. She was certain that Mike had enough to deal with at the moment, “Ahhh, I dunno. Mike’s probably gonna be pretty busy for a while. C’mon, I’ve got some extra clothes at the barn.” With that, she took Coco by the arm and led her to the passenger side of the truck.
The O’Conner stable was dark when Margie rolled the pickup to a stop in front of the barn door. Coco was apprehensive. “I don’t think your father’s going to be happy to see me, Margie.” She eyed-up the stable while searching the shadows for any sign of the nasty man.
“I don’t think he would be either.” Margie shoved the truck in PARK. “Good thing he went home about an hour ago,” she added with a wink.
Coco slid from the truck to follow Margie into the dark, shabby stable. The horses nickered quietly to Margie when she flicked on the lights. Gently, she stroked each horse’s muzzle when she passed their stall while approaching the barn office. She hadn’t lived a charmed life in a big house with closets full of designer clothes, social mixers, or traveling to Europe on a whimsy vacation. No, Margie’s life was hard, full of work, toil, and then more work. With all that in mind, Coco found herself admiring the woman. She’s unassuming. She knows who she is. Although she has so little, she loves what she has. And those are qualities well-worth possessing. Qualities that have escaped so many people, including me.
Margie opened a large storage bin in the corner of the office and pulled out a pair of clean, Lee jeans, and an aged, but clean T-shirt. Looking at Coco’s jeans and her soiled silk blouse, she was embarrassed by the offering. “They’re not fancy, but they’ll get you home.”
Coco smiled, “They’ll do just fine. Thank you so much for your kindness. You have the most beautiful eyes. You really do, Margie.”
Margie was unsure if the gorgeous goddess was offering a pity compliment or if she was sincere. It didn’t matter. Her generous words filled her with a moment of rare replete.
What exciting story are you working on next?
My latest manuscript, Dangerous Deception has just finished “marinating” and after a little more tweaking, will be sent to the editor. We have a November release planned for Dangerous Deception. When an aging jockey is asked to take an easier position at the farm he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy stable hands in a scheme to kidnap Shane, but he finds himself between the rock and the hard place when he soon discovers that his partners have murder on their minds.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I retired from my professional dance career in May 2011. In June I attended the wedding of a friend’s daughter; a woman at the wedding approached me and said, “I heard that you are an author…”
What? Who me? Yes, I wrote a book, Deadly.Com and it was due to release in September, but…but…well yeah, I guess that makes me and author. Wow!
After the woman walked away—most disappointed no doubt, my husband said to me, “Well, you blew that.” He was right. I did blow it, but it was the first time I’d ever been called an “author”. People had been calling me a “dancer” for twenty-six years, this was new unfamiliar territory. From that moment on I considered myself an author and I’ve gladly embraced the role.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, since my retirement from dance I have become a full-time writer. I live on a Thoroughbred farm near Pittsburgh, so my day is very busy taking care of the horses and my very large yard and flower gardens. However, I love to write in the evening, it is the quiet time of day, and my thoughts turn to my latest Unbridled adventure, and what dodgy debacle I will ask Mike, Shane, Punch, or Lugowski to walk into without hesitation. I finish cleaning up the dinner dishes, check to see what my husband is watching on TV, and then I pour myself a glass of wine, and then retire downstairs to my office, where my characters live inside my computer. They are waiting for me—sometimes in a panic, depending on what state of affairs I’ve left them in the last time we met. I click on the file, take a deep breath, a sip of the wine, re-read what I wrote the night before, and then I ask myself one question: what if?
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I’ve finished a manuscript I do the same thing most authors do—I start over from the beginning and read, tweak, read, tweak, and then read and tweak some more. And after I’ve gone through this procedure several times, I close the file and let it marinate. I let the file sit for up to six weeks without opening it, without re-reading or tweaking it. But I never stop thinking about it. I keep a notepad close by and jot down thoughts during those six weeks that the manuscript is becoming juicy and succulent. It is definitely an exercise in fortitude, but hey, ya know what? It always pays off in a very big way because when I open the file to re-visit the story, I’m reading it with fresh eyes and fresh thoughts and the results are always well, fresh.
Hurrying my manuscript is never an option for me. I wanted to make sure that Hot Coco and all the Unbridled books are stories that my readers are not be able to put down.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A movie star, but I settled for a professional dancer—no complaints.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The Unbridled Series is not a formulated series. Although the same characters (the West family) are featured, each book is different. The first book, Deadly.Com is a murder/suspense, while Hot Coco is a more light-hearted and yet thought provoking story. As for the horses, you do not have to have any knowledge at all about horses or the Thoroughbred industry to enjoy the Unbridled series as the racetrack and the horses are the backdrop of the story, rather than the focus.
You can find out more about my books, upcoming books, and view trailers for my books at my website. Deadly.Combook trailer. Hot Coco book trailer.
Thanks, Cindy! Folks, there are several giveaways with Cindy's tour, mentioned in a moment. If you'd like to stop by other stops Cindy has and will make for her tour, check out her tour schedule.
#1 - A drawing at the end of the tour to include anyone who commented or participated in the conversation at the blogs Cindy visits for a free signed copy OR ebook of Hot Coco.