September 8, 2011

Made It Moment: Cindy Sample

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:12 am

Dying For A Date

Cindy Sample

I have waited a long time to welcome Cindy Sample to the blog for a post of pure fun–and a little mystery. The added element of Cindy’s writing is that she’s able to be all that, and also say something truly meaningful. Read on.

Preparing for this blog post was a walk down memory lane, a windy and occasionally hilly path. My first literary “moment” occurred when I received an A plus on a third grade spelling assignment I turned into a 16 page novella, “Cindy Parker and the Haunted Mansion.” It could have been a full length novel but my mother made me go to bed at 8:30. That grade was all it took to hook me. I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

Little did I know it would be 40 years before my next literary masterpiece was published. Since I needed a “real” job (or at least one that could support a family), I was hired as a receptionist for a real estate office. That position led to a career as CEO of a nationwide mortgage banking company. I have thirty years of wonderful memories of working with incredible people, culminating in me receiving the APMW Boss of the Year Award.

That was a fabulous honor but I already knew that my thirty-year corporate career was just a stepping stone to the path I had chosen in third grade. At 51, I retired to embark on the next stage of my life.

When I began writing DYING FOR A DATE, the first book in my mystery series, I envisioned the glamorous life of a published author. Interviews with Regis and Kelly. Sitting on a sofa chatting with Oprah.

I did not envision trudging over cow patties at the state fair rolling a suitcase full of books and marketing materials. But, I sold 47 books!

The life of a published author has more high and lows than the stock market. The highs occur when a new fan tells you how much she loves your work. The lows appear during the editing process when you’re positive everything you’ve written is drivel.

Fortunately the highs far exceed the lows. Oprah and I are not BFF’s (yet) nor have I received a seven figure advance, or even a four figure advance. But my favorite “Made It” moment remains an email I received from a recently divorced woman who stayed up all night reading DYING FOR A DATE. She wrote that it was the best thing to happen to her in a very traumatic year.

If I can provide laugh-out-loud moments to brighten someone’s day, then I’ve achieved the type of success I envisioned long ago. I’ve made it!

Cindy Sample is a happily retired CEO turned mystery author. Her first humorous romantic mystery, Dying for a Date, was released in June, 2010 by L&L Dreamspell. Her sequel, Dying for a Dance, a ballroom dance mystery, will be released in October. Both books are set in the California gold country and Lake Tahoe.

Cindy is a former columnist for the Gold River Newspaper and a frequent speaker in the Sacramento area. Cindy is past president of the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime. She has served on the boards of the California Mortgage Bankers Assn., the Sacramento Opera, the YWCA, and is co-chair of the 2012 Left Coast Crime Convention, which will be held in Sacramento from March 29-April 2, 2012. Contact her at


  1. An inspiring story! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Gary Hoover — September 8, 2011 @ 9:49 am

  2. Even without trauma, I’m so glad to have you in our CA network, Cindy! Thanks for joining us, for adding so much to our events and meetings. It’s not easy to maintain that 3rd grade optimism and attention to spelling (!) while giving us food for mature thought, but you do it. Great to greet you this morning.

    Comment by Camille Minichino — September 8, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  3. Thanks Gary and Camille. As you know, the life of an author is full of insecurity, but those little “moments” make your spirits soar and you feel like you can conquer the world-or at least that blank page that’s been staring back at you for an hour.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  4. Isn’t it funny how the life of a writer we envision when we start out is so different than the reality? But I agree that the highs definitely exceed the lows!

    Comment by Gigi Pandian — September 8, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  5. Hi Gigi. The path of a writer is like following the yellow brick road. It may take forever to reach Oz but those adventures along the way are what we’ll remember. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  6. Cindy, I love your made it moments! I love your writing too. :-)

    Comment by Dana — September 8, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  7. Cindy, I think your take on highs and lows is dead on, no pun intended. If you can make someone’s day with a story you’ve written, well, I can’t imagine a better thrill for an author.

    Thanks for sharing such a great made it moment.

    Comment by Karyne — September 8, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  8. Thanks, Karyne. You’ve just given me my high for the day!

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  9. What a journey. I’m very impressed by CIndy. If she can go from a receptionist to a CEO, she can achieve anything she has heart in.

    Comment by Lisa Zhang Wharton — September 8, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

  10. A great blog Cindy. As you know I am your #1 FAN, and cannot wait to read “Dying for a Dance” out in October. I hope to see you soon.

    Comment by Bev Moglich — September 8, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  11. Cindy: Great post. I worked as an office manager in real estate office and on bad days I wrote about killing off individual agents. I’ve incorporated some of that murderous intent in my next book. Can’t believe how brutal I was! Heat of the moment.
    W.S. Gager

    Comment by W.S, Gager — September 8, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  12. HI Lisa. Thanks for your inspiring words. I’ve spent my life totally out of my comfort zone but it’s been worth it. I’ve met wonderful people who remain in my life today. And it just keeps getting better.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

  13. As always, you are inspiring and hilarious! It is ironic that we probably know more about ourselves in grade school than we are aware of most of our adult lives. Releasing your inner child after being an adult so many years has to be a very rewarding experience. Otherwise, why would you trudge through cow patties, right? :-)

    Comment by Kelly Morris — September 8, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  14. Hi Wendy. I can’t wait to read your next book. Since my protagonist is an underwriter for “Hangtown Bank,” it was easy to incorporate mortgage and murder. I had so much material to work with!

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  15. Hi, Cindy,

    As someone who took an early retirement from a solid job to write fulltime,
    I am totally sympathetic. Let’s just say we write because we can’t not write.
    It’s just something we need to do. I love humorous mystery fiction and your novel sounds like a winner.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — September 8, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  16. Thanks for sharing, Jacqueline. While I enjoyed my previous career, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that your writing has brightened someone’s day.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  17. A fun post! Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Jennifer Walker — September 8, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  18. I can’t wait to read your next book!!! I BRAG to ALL of my friends about your book…..I am so thrilled about your success!!!

    Comment by Kay Lenhart — September 8, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  19. Cindy, I love the State Fair story — 47 books, yippee.

    Humor shared is wonderful and you are a master.

    Good writing,

    Comment by Betty Gordon — September 8, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  20. What a great post! I loved the highs and lows. Thank you for introducing Cindy to us, Jenny!


    Comment by Sandy — September 8, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  21. Hi, Cindy,
    Really enjoyed reading this and learning more about you…You’ve led an exciting life and a most successful one. Shows me how much ‘spunk’ you have…and obviously it started in the 3rd grade….You’re an inspiration to all.

    Hugs, Betty,

    Comment by Betty Sullivan La Pierre — September 8, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  22. I enjoyed reading your success story, Cindy. Hope your series continues with a lot more “Dying fors . . . ”


    Comment by Kathleen Kaska — September 8, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  23. Cindy, you hit the nail on the head with this one. Writing is not for the faint of heart, but there are those moment that make it worthwhile. And let me add that I am glad you are writing because your humor is precisely what I need after a day like I’m having today. Can’t wait for your next book! –Liz

    Comment by Liz — September 8, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  24. Thanks Jennifer. It’s time we planned our “Kittens, horses and dead body event.” I have once again reinforced what a weird sense of humor mystery authors possess.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  25. Thanks for commenting, Kay. The real highlight of the fair was our location – right next to the Cinnamon buns!

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  26. Thank you Betty G. and Sandy for your thoughtful comments.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  27. Thanks, Betty. I guess I am a little spunky, much like my protagonist. The word “can’t” is not in my vocabulary.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

  28. Dana. I just found your comment. Thanks for the nice compliment and NOT sharing what we discussed in our emails earlier today:-)

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  29. Thanks, Kelly for your comments. And no, I didn’t intentionally drag my suitcase through those cow patties. I will admit I’ve always wanted to tip a cow:-)

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  30. Thanks for the well wishes, Kathleen. Now that DYING FOR A DANCE has escaped my laptop and made it to the publisher, I can start on DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI. I’ve been dying to begin that research!

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  31. Love the cow pies story (again)! Always fun to read your blogs Cindy. Looking forward to October’s release. Keep writing.

    Comment by Patricia — September 8, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

  32. Cindy,

    Oprah called my number by accident. She wants to be BFFs, and she wants to revive her book club with Dying for a Dance. I passed along your cell number.

    Comment by Shawn Hansen — September 8, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  33. These books sound like such fun. Thanks for sharing your Made It Moment, Cindy.


    Comment by Brenda — September 8, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

  34. Thanks, Brenda. This series is a ton of fun. I love hanging out with the crazy characters I’ve created although sometimes I’m not certain who’s running the show.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

  35. Thank you all for being here today, and thanks again to Cindy, for appearing on the blog. Her words spoke to me as they clearly did to others. It’s been a fun day–so thank you all again.

    Comment by jenny — September 8, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  36. Jenny, thank you for giving all of us authors a chance to shine. You are such a delight to work with. I had such a great time reading the comments today. And who knows? The night is still young in California. You may have a difficult time getting rid of me!

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 8, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  37. Hi, Cindy, jumping over from SVR, to say what a great, inspirational story of pursuing your dream! Sorry I’m late, but I’m on digest and just saw the link.

    WTG on leaving one job to follow your dream to another. I admire that!

    Comment by Jo Robertson — September 9, 2011 @ 10:32 am

  38. Hi Jo. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope my story can inspire folks to pursue their dreams, whether it’s a writing career or something they’ve thought about since they too were in the third grade.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — September 9, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  39. Hi, Cindy–

    Loved the cow patties comment! You have a gift for humor. Dying for a Date was a terrific book and, as an advance reader of Dying for a Dance,I can tell all you readers that the sequel measures up to book one’s high standards laugh for laugh. By the way, I sure hope I get an advance copy of Dying for a Daiquiri–with a liquid bookmark, of course. Keep smiling and writing. We need your laughter.

    Comment by Linda Lovely — September 9, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  40. So true, Cindy, not at all glamorous trekking our own stuff around and driving mile after mile to events, but always a lot of fun. Loved your book, as you already know.

    Comment by Jenny Hilborne — September 12, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress