Thursday, August 2, 2012

Interview with Cindy McDonald, Author of Hot Coco: Unbridled Series

Click on the image to visit Cindy's Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe.

Introducing Cindy McDonald:
For the past twenty years Cindy has helped her husband, raise, train, and race thoroughbreds at their forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables.

During those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang-out at the back-side of the track. She found the situations and life style intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into writing about this life that few understand.

Cindy has recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer and owned and operated a dance school since 1985. She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few. She has choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.

Unbridled telescripts has received recommends from three film industry readers and has been a semi-finalist in the Scriptapalooza Contest, and finalist in the Extreme Screenwriting Contest, and now will become a book series. The first telescript to become a book is Deadly.Com which is available NOW on and Kindle as well!

Louise: Cindy, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Cindy: 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!

Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release Hot Coco.

Cindy: Let’s face it, everyone knows a blonde that can’t walk through a room without causing a debacle. And Coco Beardmore is the epitome of that description, but as the story unfolds you will find that she has so much more to offer the reader—she will make you laugh, make you roll your eyes, but wait for it! Because Coco is gonna warm your heart. 

Louise: Love the cover! Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Cindy: Oh dear, *giggle* I truly thought that I had all my characters planned out because this was originally a TV series, however, as I’ve written  the book series the characters have morphed into personalities that was totally unexpected to me. Excellent case in point: Lieutenant Carl Lugowski—in the TV series he was hard-nosed and even a bit shifty. As I wrote his character more deeply for the books, I found myself writing a more compassionate character. Much to my surprise, he also became attracted to Kate West, and now he is wrangled between two women Ava West (Mike’s ex-wife) and Kate (Mike’s younger sister). Will he ever be able to choose? You’ll never get that info out of me! You’ll have to read the books, Deadly.Com and Hot Coco to find out for yourself, my friend.

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits to share?

Cindy: Unbeknownst to myself, I’ve been researching the Unbridled books for years. I’ve watched the characters on the backside of racetracks, I’ve made mental notes of situations that my husband and his colleagues have found themselves in—whether it has been with a horse or with another trainer etc. When I sat down to write the series (TV or books) I was amazed at the wealth of information that I had stored in my brain and how the stories (exaggerated upon of course) unfolded at the tips of my fingers to the computer’s screen.

Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Cindy: I’m probably a bit of both. I have all the Unbridled scripts which serve as wonderful outlines for my books. Everything is there—the beginning, the middle, the climax, and the resolution, which qualifies me as a planner, for sure. That said, as I write the books with the scripts to guide me, I find that I tend to add unforeseen plots, sub-stories, and even unexpected characters somehow show up in the books, which is definitely done by the seat of my pants! But I’m always happy with the results.

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Cindy: For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005.  I seriously wish that I knew what took place, 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.

Last spring I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. This past year has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Cindy: My “ritual” actually starts when the manuscript is done—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.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Cindy: 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?

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Cindy: My latest manuscript from The Unbridled Series, DANGEROUS DECEPTION, finished “marinating” about six weeks ago and has been sent to my editor—she loved it! We have a November release planned for DANGEROUS DECECPTION. 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.

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Cindy: At this time I find myself reading a lot of romantic suspense novels—for me there has to be something at risk—someone’s life, whether it is a lover or a family member. I love action and I love that edge of your seat feeling in a book, and I try to promote those feelings to my readers when I write. At this time Cindy Gerard is the author that I reach for when looking for that suspense, and she writes one powerful romance as well.

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Cindy: 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! I would like to mention one more thing: there are no hot sex scenes in this book—my writing can be very suggestive, but not sexual.

Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Cindy: Please visit my website—I keep it up-to-date with book trailers and up-coming releases:

Friend me on Facebook
You can “like” my Unbridled page on Facebok as well.

If you follow me, I’ll follow back on Twitter: @CindyMcDonald7

Through the tour, I am offering a book giveaway (ebook or signed copy) to one commenter through a drawing. There is also a giveaway of a $25.00 amazon gift certificate (drawing) to one person that has purchased the book during my tour. And there is one more surprise giveaway drawing, as well. More details below and readers can enter through the Rafflecopter.

That’s right, Coco Beardmore is sizzling hot and she’s landed in Mike West’s lap. Problem is Coco’s middle name is chaos! Her driving skills are a real bang-into Mike’s horse trailer. Her sultry seduction will set the room on fire-the kitchen that is.

But what’s worse is her mischievous Thoroughbreds ability to mimic their owner’s habit of screwing things up. It’s enough to send 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 bitten off more that 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! 

Hot Coco Book trailer on Youtube 

The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 5. Coco has invited Mike to her home for dinner after she had accidentally wrecked her Escalade into his horse trailer that afternoon...

While waiting on the steps of Coco’s brown stone townhouse, Mike hoped his evening would be worth the trashed trailer and rather acute case of heartburn that he was anticipating. He cocked his head when he heard what sounded like a large dog growling and barking from behind the lavishly, beveled front door. He looked around at the meticulously landscaped townhouses with sporty Mercedes, Porsches, and BMW’s parked in the driveways before glancing over his shoulder at his pickup parked next to Coco’s wrecked SUV. When the door finally opened the Cocker Spaniel sprung out to circle his legs while sniffing, barking, and snarling at him.
“Booger, behave.” Coco looked like forgiveness wrapped in a little black peel-me-off when she appeared in the doorway. “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. Come in, Mike.” She said like a spider coaxing a fly.
She guided him through the foyer into a living room decked-to- the-hilt with stylish, French provincial furnishings. Booger sniffed and nipped at Mike’s legs while following close behind.
Beautiful paintings hung on the walls in ornate frames. Mike knew exactly one thing about artists or artwork: Jackshit. But it was obvious, even to him, that these pieces had come from a gallery, rather than a retail store. The vibrant colors splashed across the canvas were thick, and sweeping, and perhaps a little angry, that much he could appreciate—kinda.
A large, gilded mirror hung on the wall behind the sofa. Crystal framed photographs of Coco and her father filled the coffee tables. Classy.
“Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back.” She slipped through the doorway into the kitchen.
Mike buried his hands into the pockets of his Levis and studied an abstract work of art on the wall. What the hell is that supposed to be?
Booger’s growl thinned to a low grouse. His curly ears perked, and he stomped his paws against the white carpet.
“What’s the matter, boy?” Purring cautiously at the spunky spaniel, he patted Booger on the head, and then turned his attention to a photo of Stanley Beardmore, with his arms wrapped around Coco. Booger sprung at him, clamped his little body around Mike’s leg. Wagging his tiny tail, he humped and panted erotically.
Holy shit. Mike’s eyes widened. Shaking his leg frantically, he danced around the room while trying to free himself from the dog’s nirvanas grip. He braced against a table while kicking his leg, but Booger, enjoying the ride, hung on tight.
“Booger, that’s not nice.” Holding two full wine glasses, Coco trotted toward them. After hurriedly setting one of the glasses on the table, she slapped Booger on the top of his head, during which the wine in the glass splashed down Mike’s white shirt. Booger shrunk away from his leg with a yelp and scampered out of the room with his tail-tucked between his legs.
“Oh Mike, I’m sorry!”
Hoping that he wouldn’t only have to envision this butterfingered beauty naked tonight, he took a deep breath. He truly hoped that it would be an evening of pleasure worth the abyss of calamities that seemed to suck her in.
“Quick, take that shirt off, and I’ll soak it in seltzer water.” She fumbled with the buttons until she opened the shirt to reveal his muscled pecks and tight abs. Her fingers fluttered over his shoulders and down his strong arms when she slipped the shirt from his torso. Blushing, she averted her gaze to the red stain on his shirt. She wet her pink, full lips and looked into his eyes. Good God, he’s setting me on fire. Can I make it through dinner?
Smiling, she brushed a wisp of his dark hair away from his brow. “I’ll be right back.”
Listening to her trot up the stairs, he found his thoughts going to Ava’s cat. He hated that cat. She was an evil little thing. He wasn’t exactly in love with Coco’s Cocker Spaniel. Go figure.
When he spied the glass on the table, he drank down the remaining wine to wet his dry mouth.
He heard her footsteps on the stairs, and she reappeared with a shirt draped over her arm. She held up the over-sized nightshirt, which she helped him slip into. Although it was over-sized for her, it was a quite taut for him.
Stepping back to take a look, she giggled.
He looked down and groaned. The shirt was brown with pink lettering that read: “Chocolate and men, the richer, the better.”
“Well, it’s better than nothing.” She felt how the shirt clung to his firm torso and outlined every detail of his pecs and abs. “Although, nothing would be fine, too.” Her hands traced his shoulders, down his arms, through his fingertips, and then lightly across the crotch of his jeans. “Come sit at the table,” she whispered. “Dinner’s almost ready.”
Mike was feeling the heat, but he managed to ask, “What are we having?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“I can hardly wait.”
She led him into a spacious, gourmet kitchen. The stainless steel appliances gleamed in the bright lights. The white cabinetry swooped around dark, granite counters.
Mike took a seat at the table, which was dressed in white, satin linens and delicate, fine china. The light from the crystal chandelier glinted off the silverware. Booger scooted under the table to mope.
The kitchen was most impressive, but when he sat at the table with a fresh glass of wine, it wasn’t the cabinetry that he was admiring. Christ, she looks so damned tasty in that tight little rip-it-offme-now dress. He took a big gulp of wine and swallowed hard while trying to keep other hard thingsunder wraps.
Coco carefully placed several pieces of meat into a skillet. It spit and sizzled in the hot oil. She cradled her wine glass in her fingers. “Your shirt should be ready for the dryer after dinner.”
“That’s fine.” He felt the squeeze of the dog latching around his shin again. Sonofabitch. He kicked. The dog yelped. He grinned.
Coco was attracted to this handsome man sitting at her table. She was more aroused by the fact that he didn’t cancel their dinner date after she had smashed his horse trailer. He’s definitely a gentleman cowboy. How sexy is that? Her lips curled at the thought. With a sultry gleam, in her sapphire eyes, she strode toward him.
More than the meat was sizzling.
Mike knew what that look meant. Oh, yeah, no imagination needed. The ballerina is about to do her little dance.
She leaned over him.
While she paused to take in his hazel eyes, he could feel her breath on his face.
“I wanted to cook something fancy,” she whispered, “because it makes me feel fancy,” Her lips crashed against his. Her tongue searched his mouth.
He ran his fingers through her hair. Cupping her face in his hands, he kissed her back with passion.
The meat crackled in the skillet.
She ran her hands over his chest and down to his hips. Her fingers found the outline of his erection pressing against his jeans. She groped at his belt.
Kissing her neck, he slipped a sleeve of the dress off her shoulder and nipped at her shoulder. Tasting her skin, he made his way hungrily down her chest.
Crunch! The force of a body wrapped around his leg broke through the lust. Booger humped and pushed, which made it impossible to ignore.
Damn it. Mike’s eyes popped open. He attempted to kick the dog, but he was fastened on tight and going at it strong.
Abruptly, he became aware that Booger’s love connection to his leg wasn’t the biggest problem at hand. Smoke billowed from the skillet. Flames leapt from the stove. Greasy fireballs ignited dish towels. The curtains were already ablaze.
Shoving Coco onto the table, Mike sprung to his feet.
Her face lit up with intense desire. “Oh Mike, you are naughty,” she gasped.
“Coco, where’s your fire extinguisher?”
“You wanna be a fireman?” Coco was giddy.
Booger was rapt.
Mike was exasperated. “No, your fire extinguisher, where is it?”
Flames shot across the counter top. The smoking skillet spit sparks and fire like a cannon. He snatched the tablecloth from under Coco and ripped it off the table. China, glassware, silver, crashed and broke against the wall and on the floor. He beat the flames while dragging the horny, Cocker Spaniel, still humping his leg, across the room with him.
“Call the fire department.”
“Wha—” Coco stammered while trying to get a grasp on the situation.
“9-1-1,” Mike shrieked while thrashing the flames, kicking his leg, and cursing her calamity.

Purchase both books from the Unbridled  Series on:
#1-We are doing a drawing at the end of the tour to include anyone who commented or participated in the conversation at the blogs I visited for a free signed copy OR ebook of Hot Coco.

#2- A drawing at the end of the tour for a $25.00 amazon gift card for anyone who purchased a book/ebook of Hot Coco during the tour.

#3- Is actually a surprise at the end of the tour--I hate coming in
second, so the second person's name that is drawn from giveaway #1 will receive a copy OR ebook of Deadly.Com-the first book of the Unbridled Series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Cindy, thank you again for visiting with me today.
    Readers, don't forget to enter the contest through the Rafflecopter. Cindy is giving away some great prizes!

  2. Thank you for hosting Cindy today.

  3. I'd like to thank Louise for hosting me today--the site looks wonderful!Today is the last day of my book/blog tour--it has been a fun summer and look forward to doing it again soon! Enjoy the rest of summer and enjoy reading Hot Coco!