Monday, 28 January 2013

Guest Post & Top Ten List with author Cynthia Woolf

Thank you for having me as your guest today. I’ll be giving away a copy of my new book, CAPITAL BRIDE, to one lucky commenter and a $5 Starbucks card to another so be sure and leave me a comment.

I’ve been very lucky in my publishing journey. I was laid off June 17, 2011. Though I continue to look for a “regular” job, I knew that this was my opportunity to fulfill my dream of writing and I grabbed on with both hands. Let me back up a bit.

I was in the hospital in April 2011, recovering from a severe anxiety attack. You see, I thought I’d had a heart attack. But it was just anxiety, brought on by my current job and soon to be lack of job. I found out in April that I was being laid off in two months. Though I was unhappy in my job by this point, I was even more scared not to have one. Hence the reasons for impending anxiety attack.

After the attack I’m in the hospital and can’t rest. I have insomnia and all the tests…I simply couldn’t calm down, so I asked my husband to bring me a pad and pen. That night I finished my second book, Centauri Dawn (CD) It had been languishing in my mind for years so I knew where it was going and I couldn’t get it down fast enough once I started writing. It was the first one I would publish even though the western Tame A Wild Heart was already finished. I decided it needed more polishing than CD so CD got published first.

After I got out of the hospital, I was talking to my friend Michele Callahan, and she told me I could publish it myself and told me how. That was the beginning and I haven’t looked back since. I also haven’t had another bought of anxiety and my blood pressure is great. I think that self publishing agrees with me.  I’ve now got out 10 books and novellas. All except the first two written in the last eighteen months.

I’m a very prolific writer. This doesn’t mean that I put out crap or just the first thing that comes to mind. I don’t. I put out good books. Entertaining books. But I’m the first to admit I don’t write the next great American novel. I’m not trying to write The Grapes of Wrath or Gone with the Wind.

I want my books to be liked by the readers not be required reading because it’s a classic. How many of us read books in school that we hated but that were required reading? Do you read those books now? Probably not. You want something more entertaining. In my case, happier. I’ve got to have a happy ending and that’s what my readers want and know they are going to get. A happily ever after. As long as the readers keep reading me I’ll keep writing.

Top Ten favorite destination spots 

1. Hawaii 
2. San Diego 
3. San Francisco 
4. Montreal 
5. London 
6. Florida 
7. Scotland 
8. Germany 
9. New York 
10. Mexico

Unexpectedly homeless, un-wed mother Sarah Johnson has few options.  They could go live with her cousin William, but Sara believes there’s something untoward about his offer and it leaves her feeling uncomfortable.  She's qualified to be a governess, but no one will have her because she wasn't married when she had her precious MaryAnn.  Matchmaker & Co could be her salvation as mail-order-bride to Mr. John Atwood.

Single father, John Atwood, is raising his daughter the best he can in the wilds of the Colorado Territory but knows he needs help.  No woman he knows wants to take on the raising of his daughter who hasn't spoken since she saw her mother brutally murdered during a bank robbery.  Can Sarah, John and their two daughters overcome their pasts and find happiness together?

Excerpts from Capital Bride
Excerpt 1
New York City    April 10, 1867
On the other side of the door was her last resort.  Either this or prostitution and prostitution was not a choice.  She couldn’t raise MaryAnn in that environment, nor if truth be told, could she lower herself to live like that.  At least this way there would be some stability in her little girl’s life.
    Sarah took a deep breath, turned the knob, and walked through the door to a better future for her daughter and, if she were lucky, for herself.
    The office was small and precisely kept.  A single desk with a straight, high backed wooden chair, one in front and one behind, sat in the middle of the room.   She’d noticed the flowered curtains were open on the way in, curtains tied to the side.  The small area was flooded with dazzling afternoon light.  The walls were whitewashed and the desk well organized.  There were several tables with neat piles of files along one wall.  The other wall held several rows of pictures of women and men.  None smiling, as that was the way pictures were taken, but all appeared to be wedding pictures.  Below each picture was a small brass place with the names of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding.
     A small, woman in her late thirties with fiery red hair, sat behind the desk.  When Sarah got closer she saw gorgeous dark blue eyes behind the wire rimmed glasses perched on the end of her nose.  Her eyes were so dark a blue they could almost be called violet.  They were striking and clear, honesty shone from them along with a “no nonsense” attitude.
    “May I help you?” the woman asked.
    “Um.  Yes.  My name is Sarah Johnson.  I saw your advertisement for mail order brides.”
    The woman looked Sarah over, taking in her clothes, her hands clasped in front of her and ending at her face.
“First, let me introduce myself.  I’m Margaret Selby and I own Matchmaker & Company.  Please, sit down.  You’re older than the women we usually have.  You’re also better dressed and don’t appear to be hungry.  What would bring someone like you to my door?”
    “I’ve been living with my great aunt.  She passed away suddenly two weeks ago and the lawyer says I need to find other lodgings.  My cousin, William, has inherited everything except a small stipend she left for me.  William is selling everything.  MaryAnn and I have nowhere else to go.”
    “My daughter.”
    “So, you are a widow?”
    Now was not the time to be less than truthful, if she wanted this woman’s help.  “No.”
    “I see.  How old are you, Miss Johnson?”
    “I’m twenty-eight.”
    “And your daughter?”
    “MaryAnn is five.”
    “Tell me, Miss Johnson, how did you come to find yourself with child at age twenty-two without being married?  Surely you knew how those things happened by that age.”

Excerpt 2

It was May, but the chill air gave Sarah shivers.  She pulled MaryAnn closer to keep her warm.  MaryAnn taking a chill was that last thing that Sarah needed.    The trunks blocked part of the wind that whistled by the open platform, but none of the cold.

In a short while, a large man pulled up driving a long wagon with side boards.  He had dark coffee brown hair that brushed the collar of his black wool coat and was graying at the temples.  With his vivid green eyes he was one of the handsomest men she’d encountered in some time.  Why would this man need a mail order bride?

Next to him was a little girl with hair as pale as MaryAnn’s was dark.  She had the same green eyes as her father.  The black coat she was growing out of revealed the hem to her light blue dress peeking out the bottom.  This had to be Mr. Atwood and Katy. 

He jumped down and then held his arms up to the child.  The girl fell into them and wrapped her arms around his neck.  There she buried her face, clearly not wanting to meet her new stepmother and sister.

He carried her up the stairs of the platform stopping in front of Sarah.  Now that he was closer she saw that his green eyes were rimmed with dark lashes and stood in sharp contrast to his dark hair.  Sun, wind and laughter had left lines at his mouth and eyes, giving him character.  His face was very pleasing with a sexy shadow of stubble on his strong jaw.

“Mrs. Johnson?”  His smooth baritone washed over her leaving her with a little tingle of awareness.  One she hadn’t felt in years.  Not since before Lee died.

Sarah nodded.  “Yes.  Mr. Atwood?”

“Yes.  This is Katy,” he smiled down at the girl in his arms.
“Hello, Katy.  I’m Sarah and this is my daughter MaryAnn,” Sarah said.  She placed her arm around MaryAnn’s shoulders pulling her into her side.
“Hello,” said MaryAnn.
Katy turned and looked at MaryAnn, then buried her face in her father’s neck once again.


Cynthia is giving away  a $5 giftcard and an ebook of Capital Bride at each stop of the tour.  
Comment for a chance to win!

Meet the Author
Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden.  She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends. She worked her way through college and went to work full time straight after graduation and there was little time to write.  Then in 1990 she and two friends started a round robin writing a story about pirates.  She found that she missed the writing and kept on with other stories.  In 1992 she joined Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America.

In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she'd attend.  One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker.  Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter's table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing.  She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn't looked back.

Learn more about the author at:


  1. Thank you so much for having me today. I'm delighted to be here.

  2. Congrats, Cynthia! And keep the great pen flowing!

    Will be glad to read one of your books!


  3. It was great to read your own story and book excerpts. I have had a book eating away at me for several years and as I eak away at finally writing it down--more stories keep coming to me. I really need to learn more about this self publishing process.

  4. @Catherine Scott
    You definitely do need to find out about the self publishing. You won't regret your decision.

  5. Good Morning Cindy,
    Your personal tale is very inspirational. I absolutley love your cover on this book. Can I ask where you get them since you control that aspect? Good luck on your tour.

  6. @morgan Hi Morgan. One of my critique partners does my covers. She also does the covers for Romcon's premade covers. The covers are unique to your book and will never be used again. You should check them out. You'll see mine there as examples of what she has done.

  7. 10 books!! Bravo, a backlist to be proud of! I too enjoy happier reading. I took a stab at a few of those "required reading" books as an adult. Some were very good read with an adult's perspective, though I really disliked them as a teen. I remember disliking The Great Gatsby so much, I pretended to be vision-impaired so I could get a copy on tape. And that was when cassettes were a new gadget. I can laugh now but I was desperate. :) I could never get past leaving the grandparent on the side of the road in Grapes of Wrath. I do believe I took a failing grade for that book report. I'd much rather read your happy ever after stories Cindy. :) Best luck.

  8. @Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist Hi Rose, I'd like to say that those ten books were back list but they are not. I finished two and wrote eight between April of 2011 and December 2012. I'm a very prolific writer and I'm lucky enough to write full time. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Hi Cynthia, the book sounds good. That's my type of reading. Yes, you are a prolific author.
    Thanks for sharing with us, and good luck in the future days.

  10. @Lorrie Thanks for stopping by today Lorrie. I hope you get a chance to try my book.

  11. Thanks for sharing. I can totally relate to your journey. I have been struggling with stress, anxiety, and insomnia for years now. Acid reflux and ulcers, plus joint and back pain add to that lovely mix as well. So, my husband and I finally decided it was time for me to do what I've been dreaming. I have two book concepts I'm working on and a third idea. With my kids schedules, it's necessary for my schedule to be open, and this is going to allow that. I'm thinking of self publishing once the writing is done. Have my own built in cover creator (hubby is an artist).

    Anyway, thanks again.
    evanlea at gmail dot com

  12. @Josette Schaber Good for you Josette. I guarantee you won't be sorry you took the self publishing route. I haven't looked back once.

  13. Cindy, great post. So that's what finally got you to take the leap. I wondered. Personally, my critique partner and I said to each other at one of our meetings - I'm thinking about taking the leap and self-pubbing. We laughed because we both said it at the same meeting. Like you, I can't say I regret it one bit. Here's to both of our continued success!

  14. Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck with your book!

  15. @Sandra Thanks Sandra. I agree, to our continued success.

  16. Thanks for sharing and I already love your writing, and this story sounds amazing. One I will have to have. I'm impressed on how you jumped to self publishing. My first book comes out next month and I can honestly say doing it myself scares me to death but a venture I would like to try once I get past my first release jitters.

  17. @LKF Lynda, good for you. You'll be so happy that you chose to self publish. The road isn't easy but it's so rewarding.


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