For twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance: she was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack (greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered!). Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born—there are four books to that series so far.
Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series, and although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one, Into the Crossfire is the first book for her new series, First Force.
People are always asking Cindy: do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books, and I love sharing them with you.
For more information, book trailers, and excerpts for all of Cindy’s books please visit her website
Thoroughbreds: My backdrop
Over the past thirty years or so, my life has been marinated in horses. I live near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on a forty-five acre Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables. My daughters and I spent many years showing horses on the local level and on the Quarter Horse circuit, traveling all summer and into the fall from one horse show to the next, including the All American Quarter Horse Congress which is held every October in Columbus, Ohio.
My husband feeds his hobby by racing our Thoroughbreds at Mountaineer Racetrack in West Virginia, Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pennsylvania, and at the Mahoning Valley Course in Ohio. Ahhh…the backside of a racetrack—now that’s where you will find a treasure trove of characters that is an author’s dream! It is a lifestyle that few witness and even fewer understand.
The backside (the stable area) is a community. Believe me, everyone knows everyone’s business, and if you’re a newbie, it won’t be long until they know everything about you—they make it their business.
The people of the backside are always waiting for that one special horse that will send them over the top to some fantasy of fortunes that is always one race or one length beyond their reach. Likewise, there are those who have the means and the horses that keep them head and shoulders above the rest, putting them on a higher social ladder than those who do not. Rich or poor, the two groups meet on a nightly basis at the starting gate, and that is where it becomes totally unbridled!
My husband and I don’t make our living with the horses. They are a hobby, a habit, and addiction—whatever you’d like to call it. That said I’ve spent a lot of time on the backside with exercise riders, jockeys, and fellow trainers. I’ve watched them diligently for years—the deals, the lies, the scandals, and yes, unfortunately, the drugs. My husband calls those who use the drugs “cheaters” and rightly so. Some of the cheaters are more cunning than others.
In 2005 I sat down at my computer and began writing a TV drama called, Unbridled. I wanted to bring this lifestyle to the forefront because there was nothing on television quite like it. But I knew that horses and horseracing was a mystery to most of the public. People may not be interested in watching something that they know nothing about. So…what is it that television viewers know all about? You got it—murder, suspense, and scandalous relationships.
So with the racetrack and a beautiful sprawling Thoroughbred farm called Westwood as my backdrop, the Unbridled scripts took form.
I created a family known as the Wests who were the proprietors of Westwood. The Wests’ are wealthy, but they are fair and decent people. I was tired of the shows where there were no redeeming qualities in the characters. No, this ain’t Little House on the Prairie, folks, and my characters are faaaar from perfect, but at the end of each show there was a message.
Hokay, the script runners in Hollywood couldn’t get the show sold to producers, and I was told: “Cindy, don’t be stupid. This is a great show. Make it into a book series.” And after shaking off the grave disappointment that washed over me, that’s exactly what I did!
Each of the Unbridled books feature graceful Thoroughbreds (and a Quarter Horse from time to time). The horses are not always the main part of the story, but they are ever present. Yes, some of the situations that the Wests’ get into are actual events that we have experienced at the racetrack—greatly exaggerated upon of course. For example, I’ve never been murdered.
The first book of the Unbridled Series, Deadly.com introduces the West family, and the farm, and the fact that online romances are not all that they’re cracked up to be, in fact, they can be a real killer!
Book #2, Hot Coco, is the only storyline that is not murder/suspense. I wanted to write a romantic comedy and so I did. This story was the Hollywood script runner’s favorite. Bring your sense of humor! Coco Beardmore and her crazy horses drive a normally level headed Mike West, and the entire West clan out of their minds!
Book #3, Dangerous Deception, is all about the power of betrayal. An Aged jockey is asked to take an easier position at Westwood. He becomes enraged and entangled in a kidnapping scheme that turns deadly. This book features a secondary storyline with a Quarter Horse rather than a Thoroughbred.
Book #4, Against the Ropes features the West’s good-hearted farm manager, Punch. When Punch helps a down-on-his-luck stranger, he begins to question his habit of good deeds, especially when the stranger puts the people that Punch loves against the ropes, and at the very edge of disaster!
Shady Deals is book #5 and the readers finally get to see the romance that has been exploding since book #2, Hot Coco, between Kate West and veterinarian, Holden Reese blossom into…into…what else? A hot romance that is jaded by lies and murder! How damning will the truth be when it is revealed?
Book #6, The Dead of Winter, is slated to publish in January of 2016.
So there you have it, a book series steeped in murder suspense and romance, while graceful Thoroughbreds dash hell-bent-for-leather across the finish line—hey, what else could you ask for?