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October 2020 Looking ahead

Record-breaking wildfires swept across Oregon mid-September. Thankfully, our little corner escaped evacuation notice, but the air quality was hazardous and kept us confined indoors for several days. Our hearts go out to those who suffered unimaginable loss.

Temperatures have cooled, days are shorter, and the garden is gearing down. My husband dug up twenty pounds of red potatoes last weekend.

Photo of potato harvest

A friend gave us two crates of apples, and I've been busy coring, slicing, and chopping. Some are going into the freezer, some into the dehydrator. And there will be a pie (or two?) baked soon.

Edits on Come Snowfall are going well and on target for a November 24 release! Look for the announcement to appear on my home page in the coming weeks. Here's the back blurb:

The sweeping Western tale of a young girl's enduring spirit and courage.

In the summer of 1880, twelve-year-old Alice Calder is left alone to run the family's horse ranch on the outskirts of Baker City, Oregon, after her ma, pa, and little brother die of smallpox. The ranch is all she has left of her family, and she will do whatever it takes to hold onto it, even if that means greeting strangers at the business end of her Winchester rifle.

But when a man bearing an uncanny resemblance to her ma rides up and claims to be her Uncle Hank, Alice must decide whether to turn away blood kin or accept his help. It's a decision that will ultimately lead her on a journey of strength and resourcefulness across two territories, as she comes to terms with the meaning of family and just how far she's willing to go to save it.

Photo of Come Snowfall book cover

I am thrilled with this gorgeous cover!

One final note: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins November 1st. With my current project so near publication, I'm hoping to hammer out 50,000 words of something coherent enough to build the next adventure from. To learn more about this annual, internet-based, creative writing project, go to https://nanowrimo.org/.

National Novel Writing Month logo

September 2020 Looking back

This is the first September since 1999 that I'm not prepping to teach a Fall Term writing workshop. It has taken a while for that to sink in. I've known for some time now that this moment was coming. My husband will retire soon and we don't intend to be idle. But the thought of walking away from the weekly stimulation of interacting with other writers at all levels of their development was too difficult to fathom, so I continued to commit to one more term... and another, and another. It took a worldwide pandemic to break the cycle.

Like so many others who find themselves spending more time at home, I've turned my attention (halfheartedly, I admit!) to getting rid of the huge amount of papers I've amassed from 20+ years of lectures and handouts. I've dreaded the task. But I don't need the papers anymore; time to purge.

I've discovered it's easier than I thought it would be. Being free of the clutter is part of it. But those papers also remind me of how hard I've worked, how many hours I've spent outside of the classroom to come up with material that might help people become the writers they wanted to be. Looking back at all I've accomplished makes it easier to move forward. I've earned my badge.

And oh the memories! The good, bad, and ugly. Fortunately, the good have far outweighed the other two. In addition to the lifelong friends I've made, I have a stack of autographed books from students who went on to publish the stories they began in my classes. That's pretty damn rewarding.

My editor dropped off the manuscript for Come Snowfall this morning. Time to get my own story polished and published!

Photo of girl on horse

August 2020 Come Snowfall progress

COVID-19 is still very much a controlling factor in Oregon. The extended break from classroom courses, along with the college's acknowledgment of my twenty years of service, has me accepting that it's time to end that exciting chapter of my life and focus on my writing. It wasn't an easy decision – I will miss the weekly interactions and dialog with fellow writers – but it has given me the space I needed to work on my Western literary novel, Come Snowfall.

The story takes place in 1880's eastern Oregon, and is about a twelve-year-old girl, Alice, who discovers how far she's willing to go to save what's left of her family. My husband and I went camping near Baker City last summer to research the area where my story takes place, near the Elkhorn and Wallowa mountain ranges, and visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. It's been fascinating to learn about the history of the pioneering west.

Photo of Covered Wagon

Covered Wagon

 Photo of Cindy Relaxing in Camp

Cindy Relaxing in Camp

Photo of Oregon Trail Interpretive Center Sign

Entrance to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

First Place Kay Snow Award

The opening scene of Come Snowfall earned first place in the Kay Snow Awards for Fiction from Willamette Writers in 2018.

If you have a good read to recommend, or would just like to say hello, please email writer@cindyhiday.com.
I'd enjoy hearing from you!

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As the April 14 release date approached, it became clear this wouldn't be your typical launch.

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