Friday, November 2, 2012

Fabulous Friday Feature -Cynthia Toney

Today I welcome a crit partner, compassionate friend who helped me in a great time of need, and a soon to be published authoress: Cynthia. 

I am still traveling as part of the move. The book drawings will resume next Friday. 
BUT please take a moment and become a follower today. 
I have a goal to reach by Christmas and would appreciate you helping me reach it. 
Thank you!!

I met Cynthia in the YA small group of ACFW. Her gift and ideas for books is sure to launch a fabulous writing career. I asked her to share her writing journey.

Don't Give Up on Your Dreams

I love the writing world. I feel as though I have finally come home.

A long career in art, advertising design, and marketing distracted me from pursuing a writing career but didn’t quiet the urge to write. When people asked if I drew or painted in my leisure hours, the answer was always no. Did I dare tell them my dirty little secret? That in quiet solitude I put on paper (no personal computer then) ideas for greeting cards, instructional articles, and advice columns?

In performing my duties as advertising artist and graphic designer, I took every opportunity to write when the job offered it. I couldn’t help but attempt to improve advertising copy that came across my desk for use in an ad I designed. Not everyone in the business appreciated my editorial efforts, however.  Once, I was chastised by a sales rep for changing some advertising copy ever so slightly. “You’re not a writer,” she said.

If she had known me better, she would’ve realized that derisively telling me what I’m not, or what I can’t accomplish, is a sure-fire way to get me to become or do that very thing.

I began to write more often—for websites and newsletters, including my own newsletter about using salvaged materials to create home décor. Then came a job with an educational publisher, where I created all the copy for its catalogs and direct-response mail.

Hey, I was on a roll! Why couldn’t I write a book? (Yes, I was that naïve.) A few ideas for nonfiction came to me because of my experience in advertising and design, but…

I’d always enjoyed being with pre teens and young teens—especially those gangly, awkward kids who spoke without thinking and were full of love but didn’t know where to direct it. Memories of my childhood and my daughter’s made me want to write a novel that would show kids how wonderful and powerful they are. I wanted to title it BIRD FACE before I was sure what the story would be.

But a finished book wasn’t meant to happen yet. My commute between cities for the publishing job put the novel on a back burner for a couple of years. Finally, tired of both the commute and lack of leisure time with my family, I resigned. I then returned with excitement to the manuscript.

I had so much to learn. Fortunately, a couple of self-help books for writers were recommended to me. The next year was spent learning the basic mechanics of writing a novel and linking plot and subplots.

After my husband took a job in Mississippi, he and I bought a house—three months before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. In the chaos of the move, Katrina, and a new computer, my manuscript files were lost.

My new job as a decorator stole novel writing time. I mentioned my novel to coworkers or relatives a few times, but writing it wasn’t a priority. I didn’t abandon writing altogether, though. There were opportunities for articles about things I loved, such as cooking, decorating, and dogs.

It wasn’t until much later when a friend asked how my book was progressing that I remembered I still didn’t know how to find it. Her encouragement made me search my closets until I found a partial hard copy. Sad to say it was several versions old.  Yech. I didn’t look forward to retyping the whole thing, and my memory was foggy on missing pieces of the story.

My husband, bless his little pack-rat heart, had saved a copy of the manuscript on a zip disc. Zip discs were no longer being used for storage, but he was able to find an old zip drive to access it putting me back in business! (Kiss, kiss.)

I jumped into writing the novel with a fresh perspective after being away from it for a few years. On the recommendation of another writer, I became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and some of their fantastic critique groups. Soon I fell knee deep in revisions.

I acquired an adventurous publisher willing to take me on. She and her skilled editors gave my book, BIRD FACE the expert attention it needed. Its release is anticipated this spring.

Altogether, this novel has been on a journey for over a decade. I recently started a new novel, set in the 1920’s, last year, and  plan to begin a sequel to BIRD FACE soon.

If you dream of becoming an author, don’t give up. You’ll likely encounter distractions and face roadblocks. Sometimes eyes will glaze over at the mention of your writing a book. It’s okay if everyone doesn’t share your dream or even believes you can achieve it.  Believe it yourself, and don’t give up. Ever.

Bird Face Description:

Until now, thirteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud hasn’t cared one bit about good looks or popularity. She has real goals, unlike her classmates Tookie and the Sticks.

But Wendy begins to notice that pretty girls like Tookie and her own best friend, Jennifer, have an easier time in life. Wendy has to work extra hard to get what she wants, while brainiac bully John-Monster tries to stop her. To make matters worse, someone’s been leaving anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Who has time to play detective?

Facebook author page:


Publisher’s website:
Thank you Cynthia for joining us today. What an inspirational journey!

Readers, have you had to put a calling on the back burner for a time and then found a burst of vibrancy in the same calling? Rarely do we have the same calling throughout life. Things change. We change. Our interest change. God knows, and matches His calling for us with what we can do at that time.


Janice said...

One calling I felt was to homeschool our son and gladly I was able to accomplish that goal. As for writing, I feel called to write and have made a start at it, but I am still open to refining the direction based on God's guidance.

That was an encouraging interview. Congrats on the new book and also on the ones in the works.

Blessings to you, Mary, as you go through your move and make adjustments as you travel and in your new locale.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks, Janice.
Sure like your words, "still open to refining the direction based on God's guidance.
Nice to see you today.