CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

Courageous Characters - Guest Post & Giveaway with Cindy McDonald


Today we are pleased to welcome Cindy McDonald! Cindy is the author of the Unbridled Series, a wonderful YA Family Drama that you're just going to love!

Welcome Cindy!


Wow! How much do we love those courageous characters? You know the alpha males and the gutsy heroines that seem to ooze nerves of steel from their very pores. As authors we send our characters into situations we would never, ever, not-in-a-million-years get into, and we ask them to do it with keen finesse and dashing good-looks—well, okay, maybe a little stubble on their chin.
Ahhh, they are everything that we are not—and that is the beauty of it all.
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?
Sometimes I could swear that I hear them groan when the what if tumbles from my lips, especially Mike West—his sense of humor doesn’t stretch very far, I’m afraid. Who can blame him? In the first book, DEADLY.COM I asked him to withstand electro shock treatments at the hands of a madman, walk into the fire to protect the women that he loves, and in this latest book, HOT COCO, well, let’s just say he’s being tortured on a more sensual level. ;}
Ya gotta love Mike’s younger brother, Shane. The youngest West darts toward danger like a bee to honey. A bit on the hot-headed side, he’s also the playboy of the group, but he’s not been exempt from the wrath of my writing. His fierce loyalty to family put him in harms-way in Deadly.Com, but in HOT COCO he’s earned a little reprieve, taking on the role of the devil’s advocate and having a hot time all the while. But heed my warning Shane West—in the next book, Dangerous Deception, the question what if will test you’re strength and constitution to the limit. Trust me it will take all the courage that you can muster to survive.
Punch McMinn is an enormous man and enormously soft-hearted. He keeps a cool head when trouble comes to call and trouble never seems to be very far from Westwood Thoroughbred Farm, or the West clan.
And then there’s Lugowski, Lieutenant Carl Lugowski, that is, he took a bullet for his woman in Deadly.Com, breaks the rules for a woman that he can’t get enough of in HOT COCO, and the next book…there’s no doubt that he’s gonna be in deep do-do that will take a whole lotta guts to get him and her out alive.
Truth be told we authors really don’t live that exciting or death defying life styles. Non-the-less at the end of our finger-tips we wield the sword of courage at our characters and expect…no demand that they come through.
Is it because we wish that our lives were as exciting as theirs? Are we cowardly thrill-seekers? Hmmm…
So, I ask you: what courageous task would you require of your characters? Go ahead, ask yourself the question: what if?
Book reviewers: If you are interested in reading and reviewing DEADLY.COM or HOTCOCO, please feel free to contact me at cindys.mcdonald@gmail.com

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!





Excerpt :

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.


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.

Cindy’s
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 Amazon.com and Kindle as well!

Genre: The series is a family drama, that said each book is quite individual.
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: June 15, 2012
Website - http://www.cindymcwriter.com

July 25 - Reviewed & Guest Blogging at Words I Write Crazy
July 27 - Interviewed at Mass Musings
July 31 - Book Featured at The Lucky Ladybug
August 2 - Interviewed by Louise James



Author Justin Bog Shares His Love of Food

The ten literary, psychological, and suspense tales collected in Sandcastle and Other Stories are nothing short of an escape into a roiling sea of emotion. You will meet an old man twisted by fate and a lost love . . . a young girl playing on the ocean shore who becomes entangled in the nets of a mercurial god . . . a divorced man mired in his troubles who is pressured into taking a singles cruise . . . a Hollywood actor in a night time television drama who is always typecast as the bad boy . . . a family on the edge trying to live with a troubled daughter who they believed they'd never have to coexist with again . . . a young adult bruised and torn by a secret past who watches the world around her teetering on the brink of chaos . . . a new mother of twins who finds it difficult to say no to the pushy, energetic President of the local Mothers of Twins Club . . . a child kept awake by night terrors, and a woman who hides her secretive personality from everyone on the beach one sunny day. Upon reading, you will meet several more people who view life as a constant struggle, and others who resist this mindset, some with grace, some with humor, and others with acts of hubris. The genuine voices of the characters, mixed with a clear-eyed tonal simplicity, make this a series with mesmerizing psychological interplay. All of the stories span a broad depth of human understanding and build a bridge between the deepest chasms of pain and the highest portals of joy.Read Sandcastles and Other Stories and you will stand witness to unspeakable hate sitting with cozy wile right beside unconditional love -- a true fictional study of the human condition.


Publisher - Convenient Integration 
Release Date - May 8, 2012
Website - www.justinbog.com 
Purchase Link - Amazon


I love comfort food. My father was the culinary genius in our home who made the best version of comfort food: stews. Also, he would tackle all the holiday feasts, the Grinch-like roast beasts. One of my favorite stews was something he put together, in all but the hottest seasons, with carrots, onions, potatoes, a beef broth, thickened, parsley, and breakfast sausage links. The name was Swedish Sausage Stew. With five kids, there would always be a big pot simmering every other week or two. I love stews to this day, and the book Real Stew by Clifford A. Wright. What is interesting about Wright's version of my father's favorite is that he substitutes mortadella sausage or Polish kielbasa and adds Brussels sprouts to the mix. I shared this with my parents and my mom loved the addition of the B-sprouts. I make this with crumbled breakfast sausage to honor my father's recipe, but you can decide for yourself. Enjoy. This is a very simple stew to prepare.


From Real Stew by Clifford A. Wright:



Swedish Sausage and Brussels Sprout Stew

This amount makes 4 to 6 servings. I usually double the recipe in a huge stew pot for leftovers the next day.

1 pound whatever cooked sausage you prefer from my comments above (we Bog kids loved the breakfast sausage -- cook the crumbled sausage first), but make sure it's skinned and diced if you go with a link sausage.
1 large onion
2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (like my dad did, if you want to add cut-up potatoes to the mix, boil and cook the potatoes until almost cooked through first)
1&1/2 pounds small Brussels sprouts, sliced lengthwise into thirds
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt 
6 black peppercorns
2 cups Beef Broth (if you use a beef bouillon cube don't add more salt since there is a lot of sodium in the cubes. My dad thickened the broth first before adding ingredients and doubled the amount of broth.)
1 cup water
Finely chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Step 1: Put all the ingredients, except the parsley, in a stew pot, and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until everything is tender, about 12 minutes.
Step 2: Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a good crusty bread.
 
1. What inspired you to write?
My love of reading literary, suspenseful, psychological, and dark tales inspired me to write Sandcastle and Other Stories. All of the stories begin with characters who are searching for something; most often these characters don't even realize this.

2. Describe your book in one word.
Shocking

3. Name a song that could be used as a theme song for your book.
Dirty Laundry by Don Henley since the characters are keeping so many secrets, and then struggling with revealing them.
 
Thank you, BK, for letting me share space here,

Justin



Justin Bog, first and foremost, grew up a voracious reader, movie fanatic, and music audiophile. Justin always carried a stack of library books and collected way too many comic books from his local Ohio small-town drugstore. More than one teacher scolded Justin to put his "suspect" reading materials away and join the class. Justin began to make up stories of his own, using an old typewriter he found in the attic.

Growing up in the 70s, Stephen King was about to publish his first novel and John Updike had only published the first of his Rabbit books. Along with so many cinema buffs, I witnessed the huge change in the way movies were distributed — from artistic, Director-driven films backed by huge studios to the dawn of the Blockbuster and popcorn summer films, like Jaws, Rocky, and Star Wars. I was drawn to the music of these decades as well,” says Bog.

So it comes as no surprise that Justin pursued an English Degree at the University of Michigan, followed by Film and Music Appreciation classes -- finally graduating from Bowling Green State University with an MFA in Fiction Writing. After teaching creative writing, Justin began apprenticing in a number of bookstores and editing fiction for a midwestern journal. Justin ended up on the management team at Chapter One Bookstore in the Sun Valley resort area for a decade, offering book recommendations to its local celebrities, skiing fanatics, and tourists. Currently residing in the San Juan Islands just north of Seattle, Justin has the opportunity to focus on his own novels and short stories, while contributing commentary and reviews of Pop Culture. Justin continues to engage his lifelong passion for writing in combination with his curious mindset as the Senior Contributor and Editor at
In Classic Style.


Thanks for stopping in and sharing this wonderful recipe Justin. Don't forget to check out Justin's book on Amazon, it's been getting rave reviews!