Hot Coco Is Nothing Like Fifty Shades … Except

Today’s post is from Cindy McDonald, author of the Unbridled Series and First Force–Coming Soon! But, today, Cindy is going to tell us about something she shares with E.L. James, the author of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.

Hot Coco

Hot Coco is the second installment in Cindy McDonald’s Unbridled Series. It is either hated or loved by readers. (Click on Book Cover to view on Amazon.)



That old adage is oh so true: You can’t please everyone. This is especially true if you’re an author. The fact is that readers are different on many levels. I’m not necessarily talking about genres. Everyone interprets what they have read differently. I find this truly amazing. You can give the same book to five different readers and come up with five different opinions/versions on the very same story.

I suppose a good example of what I’m trying to say is the book FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by E L James. Wow! The opinions and reviews for that book are truly diverse. Some readers/reviewers absolutely love the book, while others absolutely hate the story, and there are those who will not read it because of the reviews—good or bad. They simply don’t want to deal with the content—whatsoever.

The fact is that the reviews are pretty split with E L James’ best-selling novel. Well let me tell ya something folks…you don’t have to have a best-selling novel for readers/reviewers to be on different sides of the train track.

In June of 2012 I released the second book from my Unbridled Series, HOT COCO. The first book in the series, DEADLY.COM, was a murder/suspense book, but HOT COCO was a romantic comedy. It is the story of a woman, Coco Beardmore, who is beautiful, wealthy, and a total klutz. She wreaks havoc everywhere she goes. The thing is that Coco is aware that men see her for her beauty and wealth. Coco knows that she’s a train wreck, and she wants so very badly to change.  On the other side of the coin is another woman in the book, Margie O’Conner. She’s not beautiful. Margie is down-right homely, and she has been a victim of her father’s subjugation all her life—she is also illiterate.

The book is about two women’s journey to change:  Coco to become a respected, more in charge woman, and Margie to find the courage to stand up to her father and learn to read and write. Seems like a simple concept, doesn’t it?  Well, I’ve got a total split in my readership. Some of the readers love the book—they love Coco and all of her klutzy debacles—she endears herself to many of my readers—just as I hoped she would.

Uh, oh, but then there are the readers who absolutely hate the book, and Coco, and Coco’s debacles. I had one reader call the book rubbish—ouch!

The funny thing about the book is that most—almost none of the reviewers/readers really ever mention Margie in their reviews. It’s almost as if they totally missed this woman and the courage that she finally found and the change in her relationship with not only the people around her, but with her father as well.

Yes HOT COCO is a romantic comedy, but it is also a book that requires one to read a little more deeply or you will miss what I am trying to show you. You will miss the metamorphosis and the forgiveness that all of the characters are searching for.

When I check my books on Amazon or Goodreads and I see that HOT COCO has a new review I find myself taking a braced breath before I read it, because it’s a love/hate thing. The review will either be wonderful or perfectly awful. Do I regret publishing HOT COCO? Absolutely not!  Like it or hate it, people do read the book, and they are certainly entitled to their opinion. I just wish that some of them would read it more closely/carefully—they might find it surprisingly enlightening.

FIFTY SHADES has thousands of reviews—some are glowing and some are down-right nasty.  I doubt that E L James even bothers to check them—I don’t think she really cares, and why should she? I don’t exactly have the same luxury as E L James, but at least I know that I am in good company.


For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.

Even though she was a professional dancer, Cindy McDonald chose her husband's hobby of Thoroughbred racing for the backdrop of her UnBridled Series

Even though she was a professional dancer, Cindy McDonald chose her husband’s hobby of Thoroughbred racing for the backdrop of her UnBridled Series

Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy. The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.

I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!

In May of 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with you.

To read excerpts from future books, view book trailers, and keep up with everything that is Unbridled, please visit Cindy’s website at:

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5 thoughts on “Hot Coco Is Nothing Like Fifty Shades … Except

  1. can’t please everyboduy all of the time Cindy – just write what’s in your heart at the time and let it fly. Good luck

  2. You are so very right, Judith. At first it really bothered me, but not so much anymore–I have no control over how people feel about it, but as I said, I wish they would read it a bit more closely.

  3. Lauren Carr

    I have found that I write better and have fun doing it wen I write for myself.

  4. Cindy, your remarks are very encouraging. I have my first book coming out soon. Thanks for the warning!

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