Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, CJ Baty – CJ lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire someday. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.
Thanks so much, CJ, for joining me!
CJ is giving away an ebook copy of “The Pinkerton Man,” book one in the series. Comment on this post for a chance to win.
J. Scott Coatsworth: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
CJ Baty: I needed to know if an idea I had for setting a fire would work in Crashing Waves, Bk 2 in the Warfield Hotel Mysteries. So, I contacted a friend who spoke to a fire department chief she knew. The information we gained from him helped to set up the explosion and eventually destruction of a barn full of classic automobiles. The weirdness came into effect, when he told us we couldn’t tell anyone where we got the information because he could get in trouble. I think that was the point where I stopped looking up how to make a bomb on the internet. You never know who’s watching.
JSC: Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?
CJB: My pen name, C.J. Baty, is my actual initials and last name. But, it doesn’t stand for that. The C is for my daughter, Caitlyn and the J is for my son Joseph. I did this because they were the ones who encouraged me to go after my dream and get published.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
CJB: Like in the middle of a funeral? Ha! I always carry a notebook with me. One that will slip into a side pocket of my purse. I have to write those ideas down as soon as they pop in my head or I’ll lose them. And, no, I haven’t ever pulled out my notebook at a funeral. But, I have excused myself from time to time and took a bathroom break to jot something down.
JSC: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
CJB: I love this question! Stiles Long is such a stuffy character in the first two stories I wrote, and Lizzie didn’t really have much of a story at all. My goal was to stretch Stiles character and give Lizzie a meatier story line. I think I accomplished both in Murder in New York. Lizzie’s story line gives the reader a look into her past, one that some will be very surprised by. And poor sweet Stiles, he has no idea what to do with the emotions he is suddenly feeling. Which in turns adds so much depth to his character. He’s going to struggle with this even in the next book, but I’ll talk about that later.
JSC: Who did your cover, and what was the design process like.
CJB: This cover was designed by the amazing Kelly Abell at Select-O-Grafix, LLC. I can’t say enough positive things about her. I wanted this cover to look like a vintage postcard and she got that. I love the covers of books with those hunky looking guys but that wouldn’t do for a story like this. The hotel on the cover is an actual picture of the Hotel Astor at the time of the story. The little additions of a lacy trim around Stiles photo and the font of the title was perfect. Oh, and on the paperback that same lacy trim floats around the description on the back cover of the book. She’s done covers for me before, so we’ve learned to work together, and she just gets me.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
CJB: I don’t have any pets on my keyboard today. But I do have an adorable Funko Pop Figure that my daughter just sent me for my birthday. Gotta love Elton!
JSC: What do you like to read in your free time?
CJB: I have several authors on auto buy and they are mostly in the MM genre. It’s what I like to read. I’m also a mystery lover. I’ve got a new Dan Brown book (Orion) waiting to be opened on my bookshelf. And I never miss a Karen Marie Moning release.
JSC: What fictional speculative fiction character would you like to spend an evening with, and why?
CJB: I mentioned Dan Brown in another question and his character Robert Langdon is one man I would love to sit down with. The way his mind works is mystery unto itself. His ability to see the problem in a physical sense and then work out the end result in his mind would be a topic I could discuss for hours.
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
CJB: This is probably going to sound crazy, but I don’t want to know what the future holds. Though, if I could, I would travel into the past. To be there when they first open the tombs in Egypt or see an ironclad during the Civil War would be some of the first things on my list. There are so many things that I’d like to see and people I’d like to talk to. The list could go on for days.
JSC: What are you working on now?
CJB: I have two projects going right now, and a third I’d like to somehow get squeezed in this year. First off, the next Pinkerton Man story is in the early stages and I can’t give a whole lot away on the subject because it might spoil Murder in New York for some. The next story is called Aces Up. Stiles and Lizzie are traveling to Denver, Colorado in the days following the silver rush. When the mines all fizzle out, Denver is dying a slow death. A saloon owner decides to hold a high stakes poker game and invite players from all over the country to play for huge pot of money. Stiles is assigned to guard the money during the games and Lizzie is working the tables as a bar girl. That’s about all I can say other than the fact that, you are going to see more of Stiles dealing with his new found emotional side and a murder or two
I’m also working on a new series. It will contain 5 novellas about characters who all work in a club in Atlanta. It’s called the Knights Club. The owner of the club, Xavier Knight, is a friend of Stony Whitecastle (a side character from the Warfield Hotel Mysteries). These novellas will be around 25,000 to 30,000 words and center around a different character from the club each time. I’ve been pushing this around in my head for two years and it’s finally going to see the light of day. This will be something a little different from me. Hot, erotic, contemporary with a HEA for the characters. First one will be titled, Xavier.
And now for CJ’s new book: Murder in New York (The Pinkerton Man Series):
Coming back to New York to see her ailing father, Lizzie Ferguson did not expect to find him healthy and newly married to a much younger woman. She, also, didn’t expect to connect with an old lover and childhood friend or be accused of killing her father. But, life has a way of knocking you to your knees when you least expect it.
Stiles Long had always regretted that the killer, from his first case as a Pinkerton Agent, had got away. Now, in New York it was happening again. The Hotel Astor Bar was a meeting place for men who enjoyed the company of men. And, some of them were being brutally murdered. When one of the suspects from the original case appears at the hotel, Stiles is torn between his desire to stop a killer and kiss the man senseless.
Two different cases, but some of the faces overlap from one to the other. Stiles and Lizzie are in a race to discover who the killers are before another body gets added to the count.
Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Universal Link
Michael approached Stiles table and bowed slightly.
“Is this seat taken?”
“No. Please sit.” Stiles motioned to the empty chair beside him.
A steward appeared asking for their drink orders and left as quickly as he had appeared.
“Davis seems quite a catch,” Stiles teased.
Michael looked down at his folded hands. There was a flush to his cheeks when he faced Stiles.
“We’ve met a few times. He’s not really interested in anything but having fun.”
The statement was leading but the steward arrived with their drinks and Stiles waited until he departed again to continue.
“What are you interested in?”
Michael circled his glass on the table with his index finger, making the ice clink. He lifted the glass and drank. Stiles watched as his Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed. His cock stiffened while he watched. Suddenly the room felt very warm.
“I know men like us aren’t supposed to want more than a dalliance to keep our urges at bay,” Michael sighed. “But what is wrong with wanting more.”
“Why is it that only men who marry women have the right to a life time of companionship? Someone to celebrate with when things are good or someone to cling to when the day has been awful, is it really too much to want that?”
Stiles wasn’t sure what Michael was getting at and he really didn’t understand the idea. Was he talking about men being together as in marriage? That was impossible. Society would never accept an arrangement such as that. There were laws, even in America that would forbid it.
“I know what you are thinking, it’s against the law. But why? Why is it so wrong to want a permanent relationship? I know what I want—what I need— is against nature and God, but why is it wrong to want to be loved? Just because it’s a man’s body that I crave, a man’s touch to start my blood boiling, a man’s look of desire…” He quieted as he looked at Stiles.
Stiles could see it in Michael’s eyes. Desire burned there. Need so strong, his pupils had darkened to a forest green. He’d never seen another man look at him that way. It was more than lust and Stiles had no name for it.
He’d been half hard since the man had walked into the room, now his painfully erect cock was straining to break free from his trousers. Stiles didn’t know what Michael was talking about, but he did know that his own lust was going to overpower him soon.
This evening had not gone as planned. Now, all he could think of was getting Michael into bed and taking what he needed and what the other man clearly wanted.
“My room?” Michael choked out quietly.
They rose without taking their eyes off each other. Neither said a word as they walked from the lounge through the lobby to the elevator. Only their shoulders touched as they walked. Michael told the operator his floor and they rose slowly.
On the third floor, they walked side by side to a room half way down the right side of the hall. Michael withdrew a key from his trouser pocket and Stiles saw the bulge protruding at the front placket when Michael pushed his jacket aside. Lust raced through Stiles, hot and needy.
CJ Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire someday. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.
The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to Fan Fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.
One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is, “You are never too old to follow your dream!”