Welcome Guest Blogger Judi Lynn with Cooking Up Trouble

Happy Thursday, Friends! I’ve got a new writer to introduce to you today. Judi Lynn and I are sister authors with Kensington Publishing. We’re also blogging and Twitter friends so naturally when she announced a new release, I was more than happy to roll out the red carpet and invite her to my blog. I hope you’ll do the same by welcoming her.

I’ve already got her new release COOKING UP TROUBLE downloaded to my Kindle, awaiting my reading pleasure. And (psst!) I’ll let you in on a little secret…Judi writers in another genre as well, but I’ll let her explain that—and how she came to develop the characters who populate Mill Pond.


Thank you, Mae, for inviting me to your blog.

I know from reading your posts that you love folklore, legend, and cryptozoology.  (I had to look that up).  We have similar tastes. I love Greek and Norse myths, along with witches, vampires, shifters, and succubi. That’s why I write urban fantasy under my real name—Judith Post.  It’s fun to think about “others” with special powers, powers that make their lives more complex instead of easier. I like the struggles and battles, the good vs. bad.

Imagine my surprise, then, when my agent asked me to try my hand at romance.  “No paranormal, no magic, just boy meets girl and eventually an HEA.”  No magic?  No supernaturals?  I panicked. How do you build a plot like that?  I spent the next four months treading my plot across emotional ups and downs, misunderstandings, and unspoken desires.  It felt like hiking across a soufflé that you didn’t want to fall.  Fitting—because I love to put cooking and food in my stories.  But I discovered that I like writing romance, too.   Romances focus on feelings and character studies, innuendos and inner battles.  When I finished COOKING UP TROUBLE, I wanted to stay in Mill Pond for a long time.  I wanted to bump elbows with the people who live there.  I used the pen name Judi Lynn, so that readers who followed my urban fantasy would know Mill Pond only houses mortals.  I’m working on my fourth Mill Pond romance now, and I hope people enjoy these stories as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

Book cover for Cooking Up Trouble by author Judi Lynn shows an attractive young couple facing each other in front of an open doorway


It’s impossible not to notice when someone new shows up in Mill Pond. Especially someone as obviously out-of-place as Ian McGregor. His stylish suit and fancy car scream “city slicker.” And when Tessa Lawrence discovers he can’t even change a tire, she has no choice but to help. That’s just what the locals do. And when she finds out Ian’s her new neighbor, of course she’s obliged to invite him to dinner too…

Turns out Ian’s come from New York to open a luxury resort on the property next door to Tessa’s farm, where she grows berries and sells her famous jams and delectable baked goods. But despite their quickly growing friendship and temptingly close proximity, Tessa plans to keep things with Ian strictly neighborly. For one thing, Ian’s got a fiancée who, unlike Tessa, doesn’t have dirt under her nails. Plus, Tessa knows from bitter experience that a guy this gorgeous is all too likely to break a simple country girl’s heart. Even if he’s as sweet as one of her cinnamon buns—and equally hard to resist…

Purchase From:
Kensington Publishing
Barnes and Noble

Connect with Judi at the following haunts:
Twitter @judypost 

Today’s Pen Pal: Cindy Flores Martinez with Mail-Order Groom by Mae Clair

Feather and ink bottle isolated on paper backgroundPlease welcome new Pen Pal, Cindy Flores Martinez to my blog with her release, Mail-Order Groom. Isn’t that a fun title? Grab your beverage of choice (early morning for me has to be coffee), and say hello to Cindy!  

Please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

I’ve been writing for many years, but for much of that time, I wrote screenplays and I helped other people with their screenplays. My novel Mail-Order Groom started out as a full length feature script, which I spent years trying to have made into a movie. After I shopped it around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world and didn’t find the success I wanted, I had to rethink my plans. I had this story to tell that I was so passionate about and that I had invested so much time in. Was I really going to let it remain untold? I decided that I couldn’t stand back and watch it end that way. That’s when I stepped into the world of writing fiction. Turning my screenplay into a novel was the best decision I could have made. I discovered an absolute love of writing fiction.

What an amazing path to publication you’ve taken . . . and re-inventing yourself as a writer of fiction. Kudos to you for not letting Mail-Order Groom fall by the wayside. Tell us which character you enjoyed writing the most and why. 

I loved the quirky Janusz, Edyta, Lisa’s parents, and of course Krzysztof, but if I had to choose only one, I would say Lisa was my favorite. I’ve always liked that she’s so flawed. I found it so easy to write that part of her because I’m so flawed myself. I also enjoyed the inner growth she experiences, and I especially loved the way her story ends. I see her life as an example of how we might think our dreams have died and that nothing can ever repair them, but if we wait and hold on, we might find that it’s really only the beginning of something better. I hope her story will be an inspiration to others.

Flawed characters are my favorite kind and your take on fulfilling our dreams is definitely inspiring. How did you choose the setting for your novel? 

Mail-Order Groom is set in a fictional small town with a picture perfect Main Street. When I was trying to have the screenplay made into a movie, a friend offered to film it for me in the small town where he lived. I adjusted the screenplay to reflect that location, but also, my fascination with Main Streets played a part in inspiring the setting in the story. I’ve visited so many Main Streets throughout the years, and I’ve always wanted to live near one. Placing my fictional characters in a location like that was an easy decision. I think it gives the story a certain charm that wouldn’t exist if they lived somewhere else. I found myself going back to that same town for the next several stories that I’m writing.

I love small town settings and frequently employ them myself . . . usually fictional, loosely based on an area I’m familiar with. Small town Main Streets are inherent with charm. Great choice of setting! Now please share one sentence – – yes, only one! – – of dialogue or description you love. 

With each breath I took, I fell further and deeper into him until I lost all awareness of earth, sky, time, and space.

That’s lovely, Cindy, and so beautifully romantic. If you couldn’t write, what else would you choose to do?

If I could no longer be a writer of any kind, not even a screenwriter, I would probably become an artist. I love to paint, and I hope to do more of it in the future.

How wonderful! My father was an artist and I envy that talent in others. He gave me my love of writing, but I zeroed out on his artistic ability.

And now for some quick personal likes and dislikes. What is your:

Favorite season: I live in Southern California, so I can say with confidence that winter is my favorite season. It doesn’t snow here and it hardly ever rains. The cold temperatures are very comfortable. The combination of the cold weather and the holidays of winter are absolutely exhilarating.

Favorite time of day: I’m a night person, which isn’t easy in a world where everything happens during the day. I love the darkness and quiet of late night because it’s so peaceful. I can often be found writing during that time.

Favorite color: Aqua blue that is more blue than green. It’s such a calming color. It reminds me of the ocean, which is my favorite place to be near.

Favorite TV show: Right now I’m a big fan of “Reign”. I was originally drawn to the show because it’s about Mary, Queen of Scots, but the story and all of the characters have kept me watching.

Food you never grow tired of: Is chocolate a food? I can’t imagine ever growing tired of chocolate. I enjoy making my own chocolate using ingredients like coconut oil and natural sweeteners.

Yes, chocolate definitely qualifies! And I’m envious of your winters — being a Northern bird whose winters never seem to end. Aqua blue is my favorite color as well (with varying shades of green a close second).

And now, let’s take a look at MAIL-ORDER GROOM!

Book cover for Mail-Order Groom depicting a bride and groom from back holding hands BLURB:
Mail-Order Groom, a debut romantic comedy novel by Cindy Flores Martinez, was inspired by the author’s own Polish ancestry and is based on her screenplay and movie project of the same title, which she shopped around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world.

A sweet romance about an American woman who marries a stranger from Poland after her fiancé leaves her right before the wedding.

Lisa is about to marry her first real love and have the wedding of her dreams, but her world is shattered when she finds her fiancé, Jeff, in the arms of another woman. When he calls the wedding off, Lisa is heartbroken.

In a twist of fate, she meets Krzysztof Zielinski from Poland on Mail-Order-Grooms.Com. He needs to marry an American woman so that he can stay in America, and he’s willing to pay money for it. His reason for needing to stay tugs at Lisa’s heart and convinces her to say “I do” to him. After all, it’s going to be strictly a business deal. She won’t even have to live with him, and marrying another man would be the perfect revenge on Jeff.

Lisa races to the altar with her stand-in groom, but she soon learns that she actually does have to live with him. Things become even more complicated when she finds herself falling for him, and he’s not planning to stay in America forever. Will Lisa’s heart break all over again or will she find love and happiness in the end?


My name is Cindy Flores Martinez. I was born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles. I have an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. I have been a screenwriting instructor, screenplay consultant, script reader, and screenplay collaborator. My debut novel, Mail-Order Groom, which was inspired by my own Polish ancestry, started out as a screenplay and movie project. I spent years shopping it around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world and had two well-known actors, one of them Academy Award nominated, interested in portraying the lead character’s parents. After not finding the success I wanted, I officially canceled my film production company in November 2009 and embarked on the journey of turning my screenplay into a novel.

Connect with Cindy Flores Martinez at the following haunts: