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Cindy Griffin Smith

Cindy Smith grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio and earned her journalism degree from The Ohio State University while working for the Columbus Citizen-Journal. After graduating, Smith moved to Austin, Texas to work in the media relations department of Texas Instruments. Nineteen years of newspaper and corporate communications work taught her how to communicate with a wide variety of audiences and how to be informative and entertaining at the same time. In 2001, Smith wrote a fund-raising cookbook of her mother’s recipes for the Alzheimer’s Association, and "Recipes and Remembrances" continues to be a revenue stream for this important organization. When she’s not sending out proposals for her manuscript – I’m Not the Mother I Thought I’d Be, but These Aren’t the Kids I Thought I’d Have – Smith is editing college entrance essays and resumes. Cindy Smith lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband of 26 years; they have three children – all Texas Aggies!

Story: A Valentine from Mother

Interview

Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

Q:
What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
A:
Anne Lamott writes of her 10-year-old brother sitting at the kitchen table, frustrated over the enormity of the task at hand (a report on birds due the next day); her father's advice: "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
Q:
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
A:
I know where I want my story to go, but "getting there" is the fun part. I typically work toward a predetermined last line; sometimes, I stumble upon a surprise ending, like finding a peaceful country road instead of staying on the highway.
Q:
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
A:
As with all criticism: consider the source. If it's valid and constructive, I appreciate the suggestions; if it's based in malice, I try to ignore it.
Q:
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
A:
No -- I stand by my words; I weighed them carefully before submitting. I don't know the tabulation algorithm, but it seems those who joined later might have had an easier time keeping a following -- 8 weeks is a long time.

Reviews

VRG

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Thank you for sharing this precious story. It really moved me, as I'm sure it moved many. The writing is simply beautiful. Cindy Griffin Smith deserves this!

SHarvey

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Your work is a masterpiece. It's remarkable how you can help us bring humor to one of the major robbers of life. As we begin our journey walking beside, literally lifting up our elderly parents, it will be your works that we'll read to help us through.

Rod44

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I want to read the rest of the story even though it's a painful reminder of my pop's last few years. The story rings with authenticity and I could relate to some of the dark humor which is the only thing that made my situation manageable.

Martin Meyers

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This was a great story! Get her published!!

Mildred

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This was a very touching story. It made me tear up a bit. It was extremely well-written. America's next author is Cindy Griffin Smith! Loved it. Great job!

cathy m

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I apprecaited this funny and touching story. Reminded me of life with my own family. Well written.

KAK

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Beautiful story infused with love and compassion - I hung on every word. Incredibly well written!

Cotton Eye Joe

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Love the story! Very heart warming. Caught myself tearing up near the end. Keep up the great work!

MKB

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This is a sweet story and one that many readers can relate to. The author does a really nice job of portraying how the big disease and little things of everyday life intertwine. I particularly like and appreciate the straightforward and accessible writing style. Good job!

m. bah

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this story is great. it helps me better understand what it's like for someone with Alzheimer's and plus I'm currently learning about the disease in psychology.very emotional and entertaining, well done.

Jack Butler

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Very emotional, I found the story easy to relate to because many of my older relatives had alzheimer's. I felt I could relate to the main character with the way she interacted with Ruth. Great work!

Diamond Jackson

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I really liked this piece. You did really good putting this together and i like the way you put different emotions in there to make us get the feel of the story. Also, the story was very touching. (Diamond Jackson)

Ben Franklin

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A touching story that gradually draws the reader into the relationship between the mother and daughter. Well written. The ending was a pleasant surprise. I would like to see more from this author.

PC

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I enjoyed the combination of the humor and sadness. Much like how dealing with these situations is in reality, the mix of emotions came across extremely well.

Teri

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Very touching and beautifully written. I loved it!

VM

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For those dealing with an aging parent this captures the realities of life so well and tugs at your heart as you realize others are going through similar struggles as well

Chirag S.

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Great story with detailed information.Heart warming and very emotional. Just one word-Awesome.

Bradleyculver

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Good feel good story between family members. Even though I don't like reading too much, I found this story very enjoyable.

Concho

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This story hits home for many of us baby boomers, dealing with aging parents with dimentia and with Alzheimer's. The author clearly has insight into the disease (Alzheimer's), and she writes descriptively and accurately about what it steals from its victims. Her love for her mother comes to light through her words.

Vivian S

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Such a genuine and powerful piece... I still have goosebumps after reading this story. Most stories we read today are about parents and the extraordinary lengths to which they go to care for their children. But we don't hear as much about children caring for the parents who have invested so much in our futures. This story is a beautiful illustration of that.

C.C.

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Precious example of love and devotion.

chrstn

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What a strong voice the author has throughout the entire story. Her subtle humor and grace make for a lovely homage to those dealing with aging parents. I felt as though she were rocking me to sleep while after describing a nightmare.

Jean S

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A very touching well written story between a mom and a daughter. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

DeeDee

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Very sweet story! You can feel the love of a daughter for her mother while feeling the pain and frustration of a terrible disease.

Christy

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What a wonderful story about such a hard subject. Beautifully portrays the thoughts and emotions caregivers have for their loved ones when they are struck with Alzheimers or some other dementia. Nice job!

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DECEMBER 18th 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
DECEMBER 7th 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!