Writer Wednesday: Cindy Skaggs

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Author Cindy Skaggs

Welcome to Writer Wednesday! Today I get to introduce you to the busy and talented Cindy Skaggs, who is working on two series full of kick-ass women, alpha males, and romantic suspense. It doesn’t get much better than that. Keep reading for her Q&A and more information on her books.


When did you first know you could be a writer?

I finished my first novel in high school. I never showed it to a soul, but through my historical, Civil War, “epic” romance, I learned that I could complete a novel. Unfortunately, I never gave myself permission to pursue writing as a career. After high school, I joined the Air Force. After the Air Force, I got a “paying” job. I went back to college, and still didn’t give credence for my desire to write. After I had kids, I “didn’t have time to write.” In 2011, I finally gave myself permission to write, and I applied to the Creative Writing program at Regis University. That’s when I finally knew that my desire to write could become a payable and pursuable career choice. Others probably don’t need as much validation, but I’m nothing if not persistent in my resistance.

Describe your typical writing day.

I drop the kids at school and head to a coffee shop where I meet a couple of my writing friends (as often as we can all get there, anyway). We use writing sprints to keep us motivated, writing for 30 minutes at a time and comparing output. It’s not as competitive as it sounds. Mostly, we’re encouraging each other to write more and better. Sometimes the process changes when someone has a book coming out and wants to talk about publicity, promotion, and Indie publishing, but for the most part, we’re there from 10-3 to get writing done, and all of us have improved the quality and the quantity of our work this way. Writing sprints have liberated me as a writer, because if you’re writing fast, you don’t have time to get in your own way.

I want to know more about your Team Fear series and what inspired you to write it.

Every book starts with a character for me, and for this book, that character was Ryder. He’s a badass, a little dark, and a lot sexy. He’s prior military, accustomed to leadership, and trying to keep his disgraced Army team together while their world falls apart. I had this image of him in the desert at sundown walking into a live crime scene, snapping the yellow tape, and putting himself between the police and whoever was involved in the standoff. He lifts his shirt (women everywhere fan themselves) to prove he isn’t armed or dangerous. “Well, the dangerous part was open for interpretation.”

Lauren is a good foil for him. She’s strong-willed, independent, and highly intelligent with a hint of insecurity and a fear of being alone. She’s a history professor and a PhD candidate, because even smart girls deserve love. She’s not above challenging Ryder’s arrogance, and she’s been known to threaten to gut him and filet him for dinner, but at the end of the day, he’s the one man who can give her the love she craves. Together, they seriously heat up the page!

As I delved into the writing, I realized that what drew me to the story was a fascination with fear. Untouchable, my debut novel, went deep into the main character’s fear, which at one point is immobilizing. The men of Team Fear are the exact opposite. They charge head-on at fearful things. Studying fear has become an academic focus for me, so it was only natural that my fiction would take on a new aspect of fear. I’m in awe of the men and women of the military, police, fire, and other first responders who charge towards the trouble the rest of us run from.

You also have another series, Untouchables. What can you tell me about it?

The Untouchable series is a category romantic suspense series set in a fictional Colorado city. It’s a mafia series with FBI agents and undercover cops. The characters are interconnected, and you’ll see glimpses of each in the other stories. They’re fast-paced romantic suspense with lots of twists and turns. The heat level climbs with each story, and the conclusion of book three wraps up the overarching plot, although each book can be read as a stand alone. Books two and three plus a novella are currently with my editor at Entangled Publishing.

How do you handle working on two series at once? Is it difficult to switch between worlds?

It’s like working three part-time jobs. Every once in awhile, you answer the phone with the wrong business name. 🙂 With the Untouchable series, I re-read the first book before writing two and three back-to-back so I stayed in the action and mentality of the stories. The Team Fear series is much bigger in terms of overarching plot, cast of characters, and individual love stories. Because this is a much larger fictional world, I’ve had to rearrange my writing habits. I typically write by the seat of my pants, but with such a large plot and a rigorous release schedule, I’ve had to spend more time plotting. I have a spreadsheet where I track characters, plots, and story details. In addition, I pre-plotted each book and the overarching story so the series doesn’t have any lost threads (hopefully). I don’t think I could take a break from this series in the same way I did with Untouchable.

Tell me about your journey to publication.

A friend of mine frequently says, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Unfortunately, luck didn’t follow me on the journey to publication. I have a few books gathering moss on my hard drive, and they were rejected by every editor or agent I could submit to. With Untouchable, I had a revise and resubmit letter from a publisher in 2012. The edits went well and the book was supposedly on the way to acquisitions when the editor left the company without notice. As happens to many authors, without the editor to champion my story, Untouchable was orphaned. It wasn’t until November of 2014 that it finally went under contract with Entangled Ignite and was published in July 2015.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Don’t wait to hear back from an editor or agent. Write the next book and the next. Treat it like a job. When you finish a project at your day job, do you take a month or five off? Probably not. The same is true for writing. Sit back down and start the next project.

What book are you reading now?

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I love the twists and the dark suspense.

I know you have a rigorous writing schedule, but when you do have downtime, what do you like to do?

I am a movie fanatic, so I’ll sometimes take a break to watch a movie on DVD or at the theater with my kids. We also like to hike in the spring and summer months when we have time. In fact, my author photo was taken near Berthoud Pass which is my favorite pass to drive…when there isn’t any snow. 🙂 There’s nothing quite like disappearing into the mountains where you rarely see another soul to get a much needed mental, physical, and spiritual shift.

Where can we find you on social media?

WEBSITE         AMAZON          FACEBOOK          TWITTER          GOODREADS          PINTEREST


Live By The Team (Team Fear Book 1)

SSgt. Ryder was born, bred, and enhanced as a warrior, but when he returns home to his new wife–exiled from the Army along with the rest of his disgraced team–he faces mounting anger and paranoia. Something shady followed Ryder back from the desert, and he disappears to protect his wife, but his departure leaves a vacuum filled with intrigue.

Lauren Ryder married thinking she had finally found stability, until her new husband disappeared. In six months, she’s lost everything that mattered, and now a madman has her in his sights. Ryder’s return lands her in deeper danger from a formidable enemy. As the threats escalate, so does the heat, but even if Ryder can save Lauren from the forces mounting against them, will they survive what he has become?

 


Fight by the Team (Team Fear, Book 2) – Available for pre-order now!

The men of Team Fear have nothing to fear and everything to lose as the forces out to shut them down turn up the heat. Rose is looking for answers to how their physiological response to fear was altered, because the secret cocktail of drugs has some lethal side effects. The soldiers are still fearless, but they’re also angry, paranoid, violent, and potentially suicidal, making them a danger to anyone close to them, which sends Rose on a mission of revenge against the military and the scientists who used Team Fear as guinea pigs to further a twisted agenda.

A discredited chemist fired for rushing testing protocols, Debi works as a bartender and longs for a way to redeem her impulsive, well-meaning, life-altering mistake. When she is kidnapped and nearly killed by the men sent to destroy Team Fear and all evidence of the experimental program, no one on the team suspects that the drug she tried to push through clinical trials is the same concoction used on Team Fear.

On the run, Rose and the rest of the team try to uncover answers to what they were given and who wants them dead. The threat of annihilation should be enough to prevent Rose from acting on his fantasies about the beautiful scientist, but he can’t fight fate, the Army, and their explosive chemistry. As they’re drawn deeper into the conspiracy, will their relationship survive the truth?

Team Fear: Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill. Fast paced, with twists and turns and a side of steamy, Fight By The Team is the second in the Team Fear series. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the Army and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this military romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.


Untouchable

She’ll do whatever it takes to find her son – Lie. Cheat. Steal. Seduce…

As the former wife of an infamous crime boss, Sofia Capri is untouchable. She exists outside of the law…and outside of the criminal world. When her son is kidnapped, Sofia’s desperate to find him. She’ll do anything. Lie. Cheat. Steal. Anything but trust. But it’s a strikingly handsome FBI agent who’s her only chance to get her baby back…

Something about Sofia’s fiery beauty must be hitting all of his weak spots, because suddenly Mr. Law And Order Logan Stone finds himself bending the rules. When they’re implicated in the kidnapping, Logan and Sofia discover a horrifying reality – they have less than 72 hours to find the boy and clear their names.

Now the heat is turning up…and time is running out…for everyone.

**Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence Romantic Suspense Cover 2016**


Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado.

As a single mom, she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into the one thing she can’t live without: writing. She has an MA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. Find her on Facebook as Cindy Skaggs, Writer, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, or www.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.


Okay guys, if you haven’t already, it’s time to read Live By the Team so we can be ready for the release of Fight By the Team on 8/23/16! If you would like to be featured on a Writer Wednesday, shoot me an email at cassidytaylorauthor@gmail.com!

Until next time <3 Cassidy

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