A day in my life

I wrote this post for an event I did with some other authors at the Romantic Times conference a few years ago. It was fun to see, especially since my life has changed so much in the past few years since Hayes came along. Anyway, here’s a typical day in my life.

A day in the life of Cindy Holby

8:00. Wake up to the sight of a loudly purring kitty on my chest. Can’t move legs because of another kitty. Third kitty beside me. All three giving me feed me now stare.

Let dog out. Open can of cat food while cats climb my leg. Feed two cats. Spoon feed picky cat and rub her tummy. Let dog in. Let cat out. Let cat in. Let another cat out. Let first cat out again. Keep kitten from dashing outside. Stand at door for five minutes while two cats decide which one will walk in first. Let dog out. Let dog back in. Then repeat above process with cats all over again.

Send plays to all my words with friends games. Check face book, check twitter, check email.

9:00 Go to gym for cardio and weights. Tell dog how wonderful he is when I come home and he meets me at the door.

10:00 check facebook, twitter and shower. Pick up house and laundry. Keep kitten from knocking everything off bathroom counter.

11:00 Commence writing. Picky cat decided writing position is also proper I want attention position. Cat sits on keyboard directly in front of monitor. Check fb incessantly and play spider solitaire 80 million times. Remove cat from desk. Agonize over small word count. Check fb and play spider solitaire another 80 million times. Pet cat.

1:00 Fix lunch and repeat above process of letting cats in and out. Carry lunch and cookies to office. Decide to write 10,000 words today. Check fb and play spider solitaire until 4:00.

4:00 Walk dog. Start dinner or make plans for dinner. Actually write and be under full head of steam when its time to eat/leave for dinner.

7:00 Ballroom dancing class.

9:00 Catch up on TV or write if nothing good on DVR until dog demands another potty break. Repeat cats in and out process for next fifteen minutes.

12:00 Go to bed and spend next hour in self recrimination because didn’t write enough. Repeat next day.

Cisco

Cisco

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Herding Cats

Herding Cats pretty much describes my life in the past year.  Since October 2011, we have had a wedding for my youngest son, and then a few weeks later we lost my dad, which was not un-expected as he’d been dealing with a lot of health issues.  In January my oldest announced his engagement and my youngest, the newlywed announced that we were going to be grandparents in September. In May our oldest broke up with his finance for all the right reasons and met somebody else.  In September my oldest announced he was getting married the end of October of 2012 and the same week, Hayes was born.  During this time I also wrote two books while promoting the release of three.

Deep breath.  Did I mention that these two books are totally different genres and published by two different houses under two different names?

If you are a writer, writing keeps you sane.  But it is also very difficult to write when your life is spinning out of control.  Writing is such a mental state, especially for women.  We are geared to take care of ourselves last, so we make sure everyone and everything else is perfect before we concentrate on ourselves and our writing. Is the house clean? The laundry done?  Then you get to the point where your realize the book has to be done and everything else has to wait whether it wants to or not.  But when your father dies or your grandchild is born the writing has to stop.

The last weekend I spent with my dad was a long one in the hospital.  I had a book due in two weeks and I had to just take a deep breath and say it doesn’t matter.  I didn’t know at the time that he would be dead within ten days.  I just knew he was in the hospital.  So I left everything behind and just went and sat with him.  He slept most of the time, but that was okay.  Every time he woke up I was there.  We watched baseball, his favorite sport, and luckily his favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals was making a run for the series. I look back and have no regrets about that time I spent with him.  The book still got done, and even though I turned it in four months late, it still got published for its release date.

The same with Hayes, my grandson.  I rushed a book because I was trying to beat his arrival.  I turned it in on Wednesday and he was born on Sunday.  Holding him was more important that writing.  And I knew the book could be bettered during revisions.  And it was.  (just turned those in early even with a wedding)

We are all herding cats and burning soup.  Our lives are busy.  But take time for the important things.  My dad was proud of me and hopefully Hayes will say, hey my Mimi writes books.  But she always has time for me.

We’ll see how that works out as I keep him part time while his mom works.  Baby sitting and writing.  There are some moms who do it.  I admire them greatly.  Now if I can just find time to knit!

Cisco

Cisco

You can find more info about my diverse personalities at www.cindyholby.com or www.kassytayler.com.  As Cindy Holby I write historical westerns and my latest is Colorado Heart.  As Kassy Tayler I write YA dystopian and Ashes Of Twilight is a best of November feature on Apple iBooks and Huffington Post declared it as a likely successor to Hunger Games.  You can follow my crazy life on twitter at www.twitter.com/cholby or more about my YA series at www.twitter.com/kassytayler.

I also work with animal rescue and have a blog about it. www.wordpress.com/authorsforanimals

Posted in angel's end, Ashes Of Twlight, cindy holby, Colorado Heart, kassy tayler, Shadows Of Glass, writer's life | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Birth of a Story

ashes coverA lot of authors are asked, where do you get your ideas? My answer is a lot of little things contribute and come together to make a story.  But then again, sometimes the story surprises you.  Ashes Of Twilight certainly surprised me.  The decision to write steampunk came about naturally.  I write historicals as Cindy Holby and sci/fi as Colby Hodge so combining the two made a lot of sense when I was searching for a way to break back into the market place.

The dome came from an old Star Trek episode that stayed with me all these years. “For The World is Hollow and I have Touched The Sky” is the name of the episode, and the line that haunted me.  From this memory, came Wren, my heroine, and a vision of her lying on her back, staring up at a glass sky and wondering what was beyond it.

But it wasn’t enough for Wren to be trapped in the dome; I took it a step further and made her part of a people who are trapped underground. She became a coal miner that provided fuel for the dome.  This idea came from my history.  Both of my grandfathers were coal miners in West Virginia.  I also lost an Uncle and as a result of his death a cousin to a coal mining accident.  Around the time of the conception of Ashes Of Twilight, there was a major mining accident in West Virginia.  It reminded me of the story my grandfather told me about my Uncle.  When he came home from the service he looked everywhere for a job but there was none to be had except in the mines.  He confided to his father that he knew in his heart that if he went into the mines he would die, but he had no choice. He had a wife and daughter to provide for, with another baby on the way, (Robin, who died at age two). And he did indeed die, just a few weeks after going into the mines.  So I made Wren as coal miner as a tribute to my uncle and cousin and all the others who have died in the mines.  Their names are in the front of the book as a dedication.

This blog was originally posted at Fresh Fiction.  You can learn more about my Kassy Tayler books at www.kassytayler.com  

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The Next Best Thing!

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Leigh Evans to take place in this fun meme where we talk about what we’re working on and then tag another author. So here goes!

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Shadows of Glass is my next release. Remnants Of Tomorrow is the one I’m working on.  Since my editor loves the title I think it will stick!
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Its the third book in my Ashes trilogy, where hopefully everything will get wrapped up and Wren will live happily ever after.  With who is still open to discussion.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Young Adult Steampunk Dystopian
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 
Shay Mitchell as Wren and Chace Crawford as Pace.  I have a pinterest page dedicated to the casting.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Wren MacAvoy didn’t mean to start a revolution, she just wanted to be free to choose.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book is published by the wonderful people at St. Martins Press under the Griffin imprint.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Around five months.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Hunger Games and City Of Embers.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A recent coal mining accident in West Virginia and a story my grandfather told me about my Uncle, who died in a mining accident.  Add in an old Star Trek episode and thats how it came about.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Its a story about finding your own voice in a world where having a voice is discouraged.  Its about standing up for what you believe in and realizing the consequences of your actions.  In other words, its a coming of age story.
Time to tag! I’m tagging Donna Steel who is one of my writing chapter mates.
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Introducing Shadows Of Glass

There aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to describe the love I have for this cover. Shadows Of Glass will be released July 23, 2013 and its the second book in my Ashes trilogy.  

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When Fiction Becomes Fact

I am very much a pantser when it comes to writing. A pantser is one who just sits down at the computer and sees what happens. Oh sure, I know the general plot of my story, but I don’t narrow it down to every little detail with outlines and notes.

When I wrote Angel’s End during the spring of 2011 I was full of optimism. After all I’d just gotten two new contracts with two different houses to write two totally different series. I’d been through a rough time with my career while trying to move to a different house and prayed every day that I would be able to continue to write. After all God had given me this gift, why wouldn’t he want me to use it? I realized when writing Cade’s story that it was about my journey of keeping the faith, even when you think God’s not listening.

I’m also very much an animal lover. I knew my heroine, Leah, would have a dog and Dodger became a very central character to the book. Also, because of the few plot points I did have in mind, I had several stray animals show up, due to their families being wiped out by a Measles epidemic. One of these was a fluffy gray kitten that I named Ashes after my young adult series, Ashes Of Twilight, which will be released this November.

Fast forward to last winter. I happened to see a random post on Face Book about a cat available for adoption at our local shelter. The cat looked just like Ashes. I had recently lost my dad to heart disease and wanted desperately to do something good in his honor. I asked my husband, who is very patient when it comes to my love of animals if he minded if I adopted this cat. His immediate response was NO! We have enough. I thought I could convince him, but Katie was put to sleep before I could persuade him. I was devastated. I’m pretty sure I poured my grief over my dad into losing Katie because I cried loud and long when I saw her picture in the put to sleep album.

But that didn’t stop me from looking at the pets available for adoption at our local high kill shelter. And looking at them got me thinking about them a lot. And thinking about them led me to going to the shelter and volunteering my time. Which led to me taking part in saving dozens of animals. I also started a blog called Authors For Animals which is about my experiences at the shelter and has feature stories about authors and their rescue pets at authors for animals 

Writing about my characters rescuing stray animals inspired me to do the same. It was never planned, it just happened, just like my stories.

I also have a coyote attack as part of the plot in Angel’s End. That part came a little to close to home in real life. Luckily for Leah, Cade Gentry was there to save Dodger, Ashes and her son Banks. Sadly, I lost two of my dear cats to coyotes. But I honored their lives by saving two more and now have two wonderful kittens I adopted from the shelter who are only inside cats now.

Everyone is welcome in Angel’s End. It’s a town of misfits and strays that all came looking for a home and found much more. I hope you find as much inspiration between the pages as I did.

Cindy Holby
http://www.cindyholby.com

Posted in angel's end, animal rescue, cindy holby, Colorado Heart, writer's life | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Just some news

I’m giving away an ARC of Ashes Of Twilight here.

Also my Prism award winning time travel Twist is available on Kindle and Nook. I just love the new cover.  

Busy writing the second book in the Ashes trilogy. The title is Shadows Of Glass and its expected release date is sometime next summer.

Posted in Ashes Of Twlight, cindy holby, Colby Hodge, kassy tayler, kindle, nook, self publishing, Shadows Of Glass, Twist, writer's life | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment