I would like to introduce Author CJ Bower! See below for a short interview and her book information!
Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in Western Wisconsin, and I've never really left. Though I've visited almost every state east of the Mississippi. I live in the same town where I graduated high school, with my husband and our furbaby, Reynolds.
Tell us about your current/upcoming release
I have three releases available at present. The first two books in my Caked with Pleasure series, On Track with Icing and Icing the Competition, are about NASCAR drivers who fall in love with cake decorators. While they have similar themes, the storylines are completely different. Each couple faces their own unique set of challenges.
I crack jokes about On Track with Icing being about a NASCAR driver who falls in love with a cake decorator over her porn cake collection. J Nick Barrister goes into Jacqui’s Bakery to order a cake for his friend Shawn’s bachelor party. Jacqui has a special selection that is quite appropriate for the occasion. Her designs range from funny to outrageously raunchy to downright pornographic!
One of her designs is a bondage cake, where the male is tied to the bed and the female is straddling him, her boobs right in his face. While it isn’t the cake that Nick chooses for Shawn, he can’t help but wonder if Jacqui draws on personal experience for her designs. (totally blushing here!)
The cake he ends up ordering is similar in design to the one I made for my sister, when I accidentally outed her preferences to our dad. Oops, sorry, sis!
Icing the Competition is about Persephone Williams and Shawn Sheldon. Peri works with Jacqui at the bakery, and Shawn is Nick’s best friend and on-track rival. Innocent Peri had developed a secret crush on Shawn at the beginning of On Track, but he was planning to wed his fiancée. Shawn’s marriage doesn’t work out, and he seeks divorce. Though he swears off women to focus on his career, six weeks after the final hearing he runs into Persephone at an art gallery showing. He decides to give relationships another chance, and he inspires her to punch her V-card.
My third release is the sports anthology, In It to Win It, highlighting five amazing authors besides myself. Each story is its own novella, about 20,000 words.
My story is probably the most unique, because my heroine is the only female athlete. Catalina Bryant is a NASCAR driver who is on the eve of starting her rookie season in Cup. She ends up crushing on her crew chief Chad, but they both know that an open relationship could damage both of their careers.
I’m currently in the process of working on book three of my Caked with Pleasure series, Knotted Up with Passion. It was actually Cami’s idea that she and Peri get their own stories after I’d finished On Track with Icing. I knew one book was going to be an undertaking, but I didn’t expect it to morph into three. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed right about now!
My current work-in-progress is Knotted Up with Passion, Cami’s story of my Caked with Pleasure series. She, too, has harbored a secret crush, but on the one man who had always been off-limits for her.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Probably that, with enough perseverance, anyone can overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals.
How do you come up with your characters?
Most of the characters I create are based on most of my own personality traits. I also draw a lot of experience from the relationships I have with my friends. However, as I started working on Camille's story, I found myself copying character traits of many of the people I talk to at my day job. I had a lot of fun creating one particularly obnoxious character, but I have a feeling my publisher won't feel the same way! J
My husband and I are huge NASCAR fans, and I spent 6 years honing my craft as a professional cake decorator, so it was only natural that the two themes ended up in the same book.
Do you have any writing rituals that you do while writing?
Not rituals per se. But I need to have a clutter-free workspace, and I need something on in the background for white noise, whether it’s the television or radio. For some reason I find it difficult to concentrate in total silence.
What types of books do you enjoy reading in your free time or what do you like to do with your free time?
Romance, obviously. :) But I also enjoy reading Stephen King and John Grisham. Carrie and Pelican Brief are my favorites. During the off-season I try to get my racing fix from the Harlequin NASCAR series.
I also enjoy working with my hands, doing arts and crafts type stuff. Crochet, counted cross-stitch. I’ve discovered loom knitting (OMG so much easier than working with needles! J ) I’ve been decorating cakes for fourteen years, and I even spent 4 years as cake decorator in my uncle’s bakery. I still bake, but it’s mostly for family and friends. My coworkers at my day job are also very appreciative of my culinary talents. J
I haven’t played in probably ten years, but I’m also a classically trained flautist. Yes, I’m the quintessential old, married lady! Hahaha
Does your family read your books?
My mother and my baby sister are among my biggest supporters. My mom doesn’t read all that often – she has to be in the mood for it because reading makes her sleepy – but she loved On Track with Icing. My sister loved both On Track and Icing the Competition.
Both of my aunts have also bought all of my books, as have several other extended cousins.
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Jeans or sweats? Sweats. What else!
Beer or Wine? Wine. Or Redd’s. I also enjoy a few mixed drinks.
Chocolate or Chips? Chocolate. I’m a self-proclaimed peanut-butter-chocoholic!
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I have a few appearances coming up this summer. I’ll be at the Midwestern Book Lovers Unite Conference on Sunday September 10th. The book signing from 10-2 is free of charge and open to the public (though registration is strongly encouraged). After the signing join the authors for an authentic paddlewheel cruise along the scenic Mississippi River (registration required as space is limited, and there is a small fee for the cruise).
I’ll also be signing again at the Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway the first weekend in October. La Crosse is the same racetrack where guys like Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Dick Trickle and Johnny Sauter cut their racing teeth.
I also have a couple other events in the works, which I will post to my Facebook group page as soon as the details are finalized.
For those looking for more information on me or my books, check out my website, www.cjbowerauthor.wordpress.com, my Facebook group page, www.facebook.com/CJBowerAuthor, or contact me via email CJBowerauthor@hotmail.com.
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Thank you for having me, and I had a great time!
List of Books
On Track with Icing: Caked with Pleasure Book 1
She's everything he wanted in a woman…except for one thing. Plus-sized bakery owner Jacqui Jacobson's confidence is at an all-time low after her public divorce and her ex-husband's despicable accusations. So the last person she expects to show interest in her is racing hot-shot Nick Barrister. But when the two click over her risqué cake designs, it seems like icing on the cake. However, Jacqui hasn't told him that not being able to have children was the main cause for her marriage ending. As her relationship with Nick turns from casual to serious he expresses his desire for children, and now time is running out. Can she tell him first before her ex-husband, who has reared his ugly head and is determined to destroy her new-found happiness, beats her to it? And will Nick still want her once he finds out? Content Warning: contains lots of steamy sexual content and exciting racing action
Icing the Competition: Caked with Pleasure Book 2
Can the innocent beauty heal the arrogant stock car driver’s heart? Shawn Sheldon comes home early from Daytona and discovers his wife Lisa in their bed with two men. He immediately kicks her out and files for divorce, but the hits keep blindsiding him like a high-speed crash at Talladega. Shattered by Lisa’s betrayal, Shawn takes a self-imposed sabbatical to let his heart heal. However, a chance encounter with the beautiful Persephone encourages him to try again. Persephone Williams has harbored a secret crush on Shawn since their introduction a year ago. While she’s dated in the past, she’s never had a steady boyfriend, and none of them inspired her to punch her V-card. After one hot, steamy kiss with Shawn, she finds herself giving in to the desires of her heart. He is arrogant—cocky, even—but he proves that he has a soft side too. When Shawn’s ex-wife resurfaces and tries digging her red-lacquered talons into him again, he shows Peri that she’s the one he wants. But can Peri handle his high-profile career and the media circus that goes with it? Content Warning: contains steamy sex and hot racing action
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