By Cindy Keen Reynders
When I first started stringing sentences together, I didn’t know that. For eight long years, I wrote novel after novel and submitted them. Always, the rejections came bouncing back. Many industry professionals said they saw promise. The bottom line: my work wasn’t cutting it. My stories fell flat because I was still trying to find my muse. Oh, she poked her head out now and then, teasing and taunting me, leaving each manuscript with a few of her pen strokes, but not enough to make anything sparkle.
So I gave up. Why not? My efforts weren’t good enough to get noticed. I spent a couple of years dealing with a personal issue. Overwhelmed by pain and confusion, I couldn’t think about trying to write again. Merely surviving occupied my every waking moment. Many nights I paced the floor, overcome with worry. Writing took a back seat to everything. In fact, I figured my muse, if she’d ever really been with me, had taken a very long hike.
Months later, my muse returned. She swaggered in, winked at me and rapped me on the forehead with her knuckles. Eyes twinkling mischievously, her hair wild and windswept, she told me to try writing again. She told me to write whatever I wanted and to quit trying to call it a romance or a mystery or whatever. She told me not to worry about people’s opinions. She told me to cancel my pity party.
She said, “Just do it.”
So I did, and this time I let my feelings guide me. Characters took on lives of their own, and I watched like a proud mama as they became real people with real problems. I allowed them to tell me what they wanted to do, within reason, that is. I laughed along with them and their misadventures. I cried as they suffered through painful experiences.
Upon reviewing the finished manuscript, I decided my muse had given me a cozy mystery. Something I’d never written before. This book also contained a different element with a funky twist—good old-fashioned humor. I gravitate toward “Laverne and Shirley,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “I Love Lucy” type of fun. Growing up, I watched these TV shows, and the comedy seriously influences my style. Not everything in my novels is slapstick, though. Like real life, lighthearted situations are intermingled with serious, soul-searching moments. I strive for a harmonious balance of both.
To my delight, I sold this book, and I’ve found even more success since then. Currently I write in both the mystery and romance genres, and I believe humor defines me as a writer. Most of all, I realize my muse is here to stay. She is a quirky thing with a sassy mouth and wicked ideas that get my characters into tight situations. She’s elusive, and she still teases me, but I love her.
Have you found your muse?
"Cindy was born in Portland, Oregon and has lived all over the United States and also in Japan. She has visited Canada, the Philippines, the Caribbean, Samoa and New Zealand. Her Saucy Lucy series books are The Saucy Lucy Murders, Paws-itively Guilty and A Killer Slice. She also writes an urban fantasy line for Angelic Knight Press, and the first book is titled, The Seven-Year Witch. Cindy has won or placed in different writing contests. She has also written for and edited many newsletters. Additionally, she has sold several non-fiction magazine articles to "True West" and "Wild West." Cindy lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her husband Rich. She works as Laramie County School District 1's marketing specialist and writes feature articles for the Public Schools Chronicle."--Amazon Her website is www.cindykeenreynders.com and from her website, you can also link to her blog or visit her on Facebook. Her new book A Witch at Midnight,will be released 2013.