Friday, February 12, 2016


With: Cindy McDonald

Congratulations to "Mary P.", "Laura", and "Mandy", the winners in Cindy's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I’m a dog lover—always have been. That’s not say that I don’t like cats, I do, I just prefer the company of a dog. When you call a dog—they come. When you call a cat—they take a message and get back to you later. The interesting thing about being a dog lover is that there are virtually no dogs in any of my books—my characters all seem to have cats. 


What’s up with that?

In my Unbridled Series, Ava West has a white Persian cat named Stella. In the second book from my First Force Series, To the Breaking Pointe, I introduce the character, Silja Ramsay, a prima ballerina who has a calico named Greta, and in book #3, Into the Dark, of the same series, Lil Haliday now has a tabby kitten named Tickles. Well, if you’ve read To the Breaking Pointe it only makes sense that Lil would turn up with a kitten rather than a puppy in the next book. 

Sooo…where are the dogs in this self-proclaimed dog lover’s stories? My Cocker Spaniel, Allister, is starting to feel a bit betrayed.

Never fear fellow dog lovers—and Allister—I am in the process of writing book #4 of the First Force Series, To the Brink, and operative Dan Garrison has a Border collie named Boo. I have also begun writing a cozy mystery series, The Fiona Quinn Mysteries. Fiona has a Maltese named Harriet. 

Finally! The dogs will be represented!

I think that readers enjoy it when authors include animals in their story lines—as long as they don’t monopolize it. I’ve actually had reviewers mention how much they love the horses that I write about in my Unbridled Series. I’ve also noticed that when I post a photo of my dog or one of my horses on Facebook I get an enormous amount of  “likes” and comments—more so than if I post a photo of one of my grandkids. 

I must confess, I’m not one who particularly enjoys a story that features an animal a lot. I wasn’t one of those kids who enjoyed books like Black Beauty or My Friend Flicka—those story lines were just a little too…tame for me. I guess that’s why I read and write romantic suspense. I’ve used cats to enhance the stories—to help the reader identify (if you will) with the characters that I’ve created, but I’m very careful not to make the story about the animal—I’m vigilant in keeping the story focused on the suspense and the romance that churns until it comes to the boiling point in the heat of that suspense.

Nonetheless, I think Allister is feeling better about the situation—even if there are no Cockers in the books—sorry, buddy.                      

Giveaway question:
So, here’s the question that I pose to you: Do you enjoy stories that include pets or is it something that makes no difference in your reading pleasure? Let me know how you feel about it—hey, three lucky readers will get to choose the book (kindle only) that they win! To enter, leave your comment, email, and which one of the First Force books you’d like to win…


It had been four years since ex-Navy SEAL, Jack Haliday, had an explosive run-in with a biker gang wounding their leader, Gunner. During those years Jack had acquired everything he ever wanted: a beautiful wife, an adorable daughter, and a lovely home in the suburbs—everything was as perfect as it could get, until Gunner returned to twist Jack’s world inside-out with a vengeance that he could never have prepared for. Critically injured, he found himself surrounded in the security of First Force International and in the care of their head medic, Dr. Rayne Lee, a beautiful and compassionate woman who knows firsthand the sharp slice of loss and grief.

Now Jack has a score to settle and he’s got some new friends to help him, but in the end, can Rayne help to ease his grief and encourage him to start a new life with team First Force? 


Five years ago First Force operative, Grant Ketchum, let the ballerina of his dreams dance right of his life. Silja Ramsay returned to her birthplace, Russia, to take the position of the principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company. She was living her dreams, and although they had very little contact, Grant was proud of her.

The owner and director of the ballet company, Natalia Novikov, has a dark secret: her beloved ballet company is almost broke. Natalia has become so desperate for funds to keep the company afloat that she's forced her dancers to prostitute themselves to financial contributors at exclusive after-show parties.

As the Prima Ballerina of the troupe, Silja has been exempt and kept in the dark about the parties, until a big-time American financier, who is obsessed with Silja, offers to bail the failing ballet company out and provide Natalia with everything she will ever need. His prerequisite: Silja must become his personal companion, live in his home, and fulfill his every desire.

 Against her will, Silja is taken to the American's mansion, but before she goes she manages to send a text to the only man who can save her, Grant: HELP!

   Now Grant Ketchum is on a mission to find his lost ballerina and rescue her from this powerful man's subjugation. He will do anything to get her out alive. If they survive, will he let her chasse out of his life again?


Four years ago, Dr. Rayne Lee lost her husband and her four-year-old daughter, Sierra, to a group of hostile guerrillas in the Amazonian Valley of Peru. It had taken every bit of her constitution to rebuild her life and to join her uncle’s international security firm, First Force, as the team’s head medic. She still desperately missed her husband and her daughter, but all-in-all everything was back on track—until the phone calls started.

A young girl was calling claiming to be Sierra. The tiny trembling voice claimed that the guerrillas were holding her captive, and there was only way for them to be reunited: Rayne must travel to Peru and give them something that she has. Moreover, the guerrillas have another stipulation: Rayne must come alone.

Suddenly the ghosts from Rayne’s past are chasing her down a dark road.

What could they possibly want from her?

Could she return to the place where her family was murdered and she was brutalized for seven horrid months?

Was it really Sierra calling?

Rayne knew that she had to take the risk—she had to find out!

About the Author:
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 that I have experienced with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack—she muses: they are greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born. Currently there are five books in the series.
Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series’, especially with a military ops theme. Although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one. At this time, there are three books in her black ops series, First Force: Into the Crossfire, To the Breaking Pointe and Into the Dark. Book #4, To the Brink, is scheduled to release in September of 2016.
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 writing my books, and I love sharing them with my readers.
Cindy resides on her forty-five acre Thoroughbred farm with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Feb. 13th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. I enjoy pets in stories but I don't need them and they do need to be integrated into the story. not dominating the story and not just thrown in there because the author thought an animal was needed.

    1. Into the Dark, beasbooknook AT gmail DOT com

  2. I love having pets in the story. They make things more realistic and often add a touch of humor.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  3. I love pets in books, they make the characters seem more down to earth.

    1. I need to start at the beginning so I would love Into The Crossfire

  4. I love pets as secondary characters :) I'm very partial to dogs, as my avatar of my fur baby probably shows. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love animals in books... I think they add more to a story! :)

  6. I like pets in stories, but it needs to be done realistically. I hate thinking "But, who will walk the dog when you're gone for two days?" in the middle of a book.

    I'd like to read To The Breaking Pointe...because ballet meets romantic suspense? Yes, please!

    corozondemono at gmail dot com

    1. Yes! I used my 26 plus years as a professional dancer to write To the Breaking Pointe so it is definitely a romantic suspense that takes you to Russia,and surround the ballet, Coppelia.

  7. I do think that animals add a fun element to stories.



  8. Cute post, Cindy! And yes, I like pets in my stories as they are very much a part of our human lives, even amidst mystery and danger. Their unconditional love just makes our hearts melt. But I also like good romantic suspense stories without pets too...depends on who the author is and how they write. I would buy books from an author I like irregardless of pets in the stories. BTW, I grew up with cocker spaniels and had a cocker spaniel up until 20 years ago and just didn't have the heart to get another one. I got a lovely orange tomcat named Sam and had him for 13 years. Now I have a Yorkie. Thanks for asking!

    1. Cockers are great. Allister is my second-my good pal, Harvey, passed away 2 years ago--I was devastated, but Allister keeps me very busy--a great constant companion.


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