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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

CREATING IS ONE THING—LETTING IT MARINATE IS ANOTHER

by
Cindy McDonald

 People are always asking me: where do you come up with the ideas for your Unbridled series? I always chuckle a little bit and then I explain: Well, hanging around the backside (stable area) of a racetrack for twenty or so years will give you plenty of fodder for story lines—trust me!

It’s true. So many characters hang out at the racetrack: gamblers, liars, jockeys, agents (yes, jockeys have agents), liars, horse trainers, exercise riders, veterinarians, crazy blacksmiths, and did I mention liars?  There are lots of liars. Oh yes, the racetrack is a treasure trove of characters, and if you are paying close attention (I’m a watcher by nature) they will give you as many storylines as your little heart desires.

Now just to be clear, I have never seen anyone murder anyone else, nor have I been murdered myself at the racetrack, so there is quite a bit of exaggeration placed in the Unbridled books. And although the Unbridled books are fiction, there is a lot of truth that lies between the lines.

Another question people are always asking is: Cindy, where do you find the time to write? The answer is quite simple, I make time. I write everyday. Sometimes I feel as though I am handcuffed to my computer, but like anything else that you want to do well, writing is a commitment.

I love to write in the evenings. It is the quiet time of day, and after I have finished cleaning up dinner, I pour a glass of wine—usually a chardonnay—I never drink red, it makes me sweat. Wait a minute.  Maybe I should reconsider—the sweating might help with those love scenes that I pen.

My stories are taken from the original telescripts that I wrote for the TV drama series, Unbridled. Warner Brothers sniffed around it, but the show never got sold, so my telescripts are excellent outlines. Even with the scripts, it takes me approximately ten to eleven months to write an Unbridled story. After months of writing, rewriting, thinking, and yes banging my head off my desk the manuscript is read to upload it to my editor, right?

Whoa, not so fast—not for me anyway. This is where my writing and publishing habits may differ from other authors. This, my friends, is where patience must persevere, and sometimes that’s a mighty big order.

Okay, take a deep breath, because it's time for the marinating process to begin. Yep, that’s what I said “marinate”. You’re probably wondering if I’ve hit my head off the desk one too many times, not really. 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 to 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 want to make sure that it is a story that my readers would not be able to put down. Every author has their writing rituals, for me it is contemplation. Beyond marinating my manuscripts, I usually take short breaks during the writing of a book as well. Sometimes, I will walk away from a manuscript for a week or so. If I find that I am becoming frustrated with my story, I know that it is time to take off my glasses, turn off the computer, and go for a walk or take my dog, Harvey, for a nice long run. The sunshine clears my head and it feels good to stretch my legs for a while—I was a professional dancer for twenty-six years, I need to move around a bit! But if I return to the problem pages and nothing has been resolved, then its time for a break from Unbridled for possibly a week or so. Honestly, it doesn’t take long until I’m missing my characters and I’m back in the saddle tapping at the keyboard once again.

Yes it’s true, marinating and contemplation is a long process, however I am always pleased with the outcome. I am usually able to publish two Unbridled books per year. How? Well, I am always a book ahead—sometimes two books ahead of what you are finding on Amazon.  Example: the fourth book of the Unbridled Series, Against the Ropes, will release on June 1st. I am almost half-way through the fifth book, Shady Deals—it will be marinating by July. 

Whew!

I must admit that no dust ever settles on my computer and those handcuffs come in darn handy, too. ;}

Other posts on WWBB from Cindy McDonald:
Memories of Presque Isle
When writing romantic scenes where does one draw the line?
When reviews count for nothing.




Deadly.com
by Cindy McDonald
BIO FOR AUTHOR, 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 near Pittsburgh.
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 most 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. She owned and operated Cindy McDonald’s School of Dance 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.

Enter the giveaway:
One signed paperback or ebook (winners choice, US/Canada), International – one ebook: DEADLY.COM HOTCOCO or DANGEROUS DECEPTION



DEADLY.COM

Make a note: never agitate a madman. Successful Thoroughbred trainer Mike West just made that mistake, and he’s gonna pay—more than her ever realized. But it’s all in the family; his sister, Kate, has been the object of the madman’s desire on the social network site “My Town”. Her constant rejections have infuriated him. People who seem to be in the way start turning up dead, and he’s got Kate and Mike next on his list! In the first book of “The Unbridled Series” Cindy McDonald introduces you to the world of Thoroughbred racing, while taking her cast of characters for a wild ride through a maniac’s mind.

EXCERPT:

The heat of a summer night wrapped its arms around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm. The farm’s vast one hundred acres nestled in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania outside the small town of Grantville. Westwood was a lucrative, bustling horse farm. In the mornings exercise riders would put the horses through their daily workouts. The stable hands would scuttle about the barn chattering in Spanish while cleaning stalls and filling water buckets. In the afternoon, the farm manager, Punch McMinn would deliver the horses to the racetrack where they would dash hell-bent–for-leather toward the finish line. 

Not tonight. Not for Kate West anyway. Kate was only looking for peace and quiet tonight. The glimmer of candlelight and the comforting scent of sweet lilac filled the room. She took a long, gratifying sip of her Sleepy Time tea with a drizzle of honey, a tiny indulgence to help her unwind. She ran her fingers through her blonde, silky hair. Dressed in a soft cami and a pair of pajama pants, she was feeling cozy and glad to have the evening off. She often worked late into the evening as a veterinary assistant at the racetrack. Tonight was going to be a hot one.

She stretched out on the sofa in her father’s study. The sweat dribbled down her neck to between her breasts. Her cami clung to her like a contestant in a wet t-shirt competition. She propped her feet on the coffee table. Her lips curled devilishly as she thought how her father would disapprove. 

Twenty-five-year-old Kate was much too old for scolding, but Eric West could be somewhat over-bearing. He loved the grandeur of the old Victorian-style farmhouse. He claimed that installing a modern convenience such as central air would compromise the home’s integrity. But he wasn’t home. She wiggled her toes, lifted her laptop from the couch, and logged onto a local networking website. The Wi-Fi delivered the site speedily to announce “MY TOWN” across the screen in bold letters. 

The blueness from the laptop’s screen illuminated Kate’s face. She arched a brow and she bit her lip softly when the picture of Giorgio appeared on the screen.

He’s logged on! Oh yes! There he is a delicacy of pure eye candy.

Giorgio had smooth olive skin. His long, dark hair swept across his broad shoulders. His eyes were a cool, inviting green. His jaw was square and strong. It was as if he wasn’t real, as if he was one of those erotic-looking characters on the cover of a romance novel. 

Kate chuckled to herself. She could easily picture this half-naked Adonis, embracing a buxom beauty with her brunette hair cascading over her shimmering bare shoulders with a title like Desire at Dawn scrawled over their heads. 

She had been cautiously chatting with Giorgio for several weeks after he had requested her friendship on the site. His picture was so stimulating, how could she resist? A congregation of attractive woman worshipped him with suggestive messages and invitations on his page. And why wouldn’t they adore him? His half unbuttoned shirt clarifies one thing. He’s ripped.

Among the women who paid daily homage to Giorgio was Ava West, Kate’s ex-sister-in-law. Kate had a healthy disdain for her. She was unfaithful to Mike, Kate’s older brother. Ava blatantly flaunted her beauty in men’s faces to get what she desired. Tall and leggy, beautiful Ava allowed her auburn hair to dangle so she could brush it back with a coquettish smile when in seduction mode. Like Giorgio, she too had green eyes, but they weren’t soft. They were definitely piercing. 

Every man’s wet dream featured Ava, and she knew it. She could be quite the smooth manipulator. Her messages to Giorgio weren’t so much suggestive as straight to the point. Ava liked men in multiples. One man, no matter how handsome, was just never enough for very long.

In general, Kate thought little of women who participated in cyber-sex; she considered it a pathetic, desperate activity. But merely flirting with a gorgeous man in cyber-space couldn’t hurt, right? She laid her fingers thoughtfully on the laptop’s keys just as a message popped onto her screen. 

“Want some company?”

Her fingers jerked from the keyboard. Giorgio! Has he been waiting for me to log on? Hmmm. Maybe he prefers sultry blondes over auburn, green-eyed manipulative monsters.

The cat and mouse game she’d been playing with him for several weeks had been a lot of fun. He had suggested hooking up several times, but she wasn’t prepared for a face to face meeting. Not yet anyway.

She licked her lips in delight as her fingers found their way back into position. I have to hold him off a little longer... make him want me... make him really want to be with me. She typed, “Soon... maybe.”







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