Writer - Poet - Blogger - Historian
CINDY WIGGINS TAPIA
Loves writing tools, dancing with a challenge, building worlds, and creating memorable characters
"Her tales are intimate and vulnerable with a bit of wit and humor mixed in."
—The North Gwinnett Voice
I am a writer, historian, blogger, and poet. I've been building worlds since age three when my invisible friend Mokey appeared. I wrote my first story in third grade—a geography homework essay about a tourist trip to New York City that turned into a twenty-page Fannie Hurstesque tale. That epic in a nutshell whetted my appetite for writing and led to a career in fiction and nonfiction.I maintain three blogs: Star Thriller Brandon Lee, Our Town; and Growing Up Buford, articles of which have been reproduced in selected issues of The North Gwinnett Voice newspaper.The 18th Century historical DRESS HER IN CHAMELEON is my debut novel. I am currently working on the Miami crime novel A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET. I live with my sister and a mean rabbit-tailed calico cat in Athens, Georgia.
—Scott Michaels (the original Death Hag) with David Evans, Rocky Horror: From Concept to Cult, Findadeath.com Creator and Founder of Dearly Departed Tours
DRESS HER IN CHAMELEON is set in the early 18th Century when men were kings and women merely properties.
They said she was a renegade, and they were right. She had a tongue like a pirate's cutlass and wore a gun on her hip. She killed three men, stole the heart of one, cost another everything he held dear, and rumors flew of assignations with an Italian painter in her very wedding bunk aboard the Ship Dunwoody and in a barn on Soto Road. Dress Her in Chameleon is a tale of love, trickery, hate, and horror in decorous old England and the raw New World. Beautiful Lady Naomi is a child-woman living under the thumb of paralyzing abuse. She has spent her entire life bucking the dictates of her sadistic father, which sets the stage for the chicanery that affects everyone in the book.
Set in 1988 Miami where law enforcement is iconic and every drug myth is true, A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET spins a tale as timely as today's headlines. Black ops special agent cum missing persons PI Billy Estrella is set to go on a solo cruise when a woman with a tragic past climbs aboard The ScareCrow and tosses him into the crosshairs of a raging obsession.
Coming in 2022!!!
So you wanna be a writer...
Let’s get something straight right off the bat. The word "writer" is not synonymous with “published.”
A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET was my very first book idea that was inspired by the film adaption and later the book Love Story by Erich Segal. (Might I add that I was all of almost fifteen years old?) The plot was a dupe of the Segal story, that is, boy meets girl, they fall in love, girl gets cancer, girl dies. In my adaption, she leaves him with twins. The lead was a guy named Billy (can’t remember his last name) who was a Native American. The girl was Carol. Carol’s sister was Trina, and their father was Captain Hayes. In one version Billy was a ranch hand. In another, a burnout rockstar named Billy Star then came to the final persona of a secret agent in This Other Eden. Play it forward to the final version in the early 2000s with the same characters, some of which were renamed: Carol became Carolina, and Captain Hayes is Big Daddy. Trina is El who died young. The others are new people. The title is now A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET, which I hope to publish in 2022. MORE
My second book idea was a Native American paranormalish romance thriller that was inspired by the Janelle Taylor Grey Eagle Series. I dropped A Deadly Spill of Scarlet back in the day to write this book about a Cheyenne breed outlaw White Wolf Caitlin, the mysterious redheaded beauty Megan Downing, and the shapeshifter who haunts their lives. It began with the misty time when the Cheyenne people lived in the land of a thousand lakes to their journey to the plains, countless years when before they even had dogs, much less horses or guns—as if I were the female version of James A. Michener. If I’d been able to stick with it back then, it would have stayed that way, but I could never do more than write a chapter of drivel.
So, like the first book, I dropped it, and went back to the Billy Star book, dropped it, and started writing PANT with two supporting characters from SCARLET, then back to Scarlet with little more success than the first try, and yet, I learned something big about why both books foundered. A creative writing teacher advised, "Cindy, you have an uncanny vocabulary, and you have a good idea, and I've no doubt the story rocks in your head, wherein lies your problem: you lack the ability to unleash that rocking story onto paper or monitor."
So, I gave up writing. HA! Then I wrote StarThrillerBrandonLee, a Brandon Lee resource website. Then I began writing stories about life growing up in a small town dysfunctional family and a history of my hometown, Buford, GA, told through the eyes of my childhood. I compiled all three works into three blogs, Star Thriller Brandon Lee, Our Town, and Growing Up Buford, respectively. Then a dear friend of mine said, “Cindy, you ought to write a novel!” And I did.
DRESS HER IN CHAMELEON binged into my head in 2015, and I discovered, yes, Cindy, you can write. The story poured out and improved with each draft. It was published in January 2021.
After years of fits and stalls, I am currently approaching the third draft of A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET. In this version, Billy is using his undercover last name, Estrella, and I've employed a smattering of paranormal events. During the third draft, I will do a side hustle into a downsized version of White Wolf. Then sometime in the future, begin PANT again with the new title Nightmare on Soot Mountain, which is the second Billy Estrella novel. BTW, its co-main character was also in A Deadly Spill of Scarlet.
Let’s get something straight right off the bat. The word "writer" is not synonymous with "published."
Just as one who drives is a driver and one who bakes is a baker so one who writes is a writer. Dig it? Doesn’t matter what you write. Stories, essays, poems, blog posts or journal entries, scribbles, jots, and drivel. And don’t let anyone—and I mean nobody great or small—tell you otherwise. “Oh, you write, huh? What have you published? Nothing? Well, ahem, my friend has books on Amazon. He’s a real writer.”
All together now: If you want to be a writer, you write, and if you write you are a writer. Doesn’t matter what you write. Nonfiction. Fiction. Essays, memoirs, poems, fan fiction, website texts, short stories, blog posts, and journal entries. I'll go you three further—scribbles, jots, and drivel—because that, fellow writers, compounded a million times by reading, is how you learn the craft. And don’t let anyone—and I mean nobody great or small—tell you otherwise. “Oh, you write, huh? What have you published? Nothing? Well, ahem, my friend has books on Amazon. He’s a real writer.”
I used to think it was just me, but I've since found that all writers are a weird lot. For one thing, our brains are wired by the kind of writing we produce. Take me. I write historical and suspense thrillers with criminal and paranormal elements. Thus, my brain twists the simplest event into something fishy. My niece-in-love was recently hired by an employer she had longed to work for, but then they started hemming and hawing about sending her work schedule. She'd call them every day, and they would go, "Oh, we'll call you tomorrow." But they never did.
They likely decided not to hire her after all and didn't have the guts to tell her. But the writer in me was like "Sounds fishy to me." And I told her so. What I didn't tell her was that it sounded like one of their employees was sabotaging her hiring. Maybe they wanted figured the boss would think she hadn't bothered to call in and hire the puke's friend or relative. That's real life. If I were to write a story with such a premise, there would be a serial killer lurking about somewhere.
The writer's mantra is, "Every story cries out for someone worthy to give it a voice." That's why I kept on writing Dress Her in Chameleon when I was advised by someone with a different style advised that the manuscript "was ambitious. I know what you're aiming for, but it jumps around too much. So, I just read the first 100 pages. Oh, but you did choose a good font." Uh. My ego was crushed. I felt like throwing my desktop out the window. I didn't write for three months, and when I did it was nonfiction for I had sworn fiction off for good. Ahhh, but the voice of Mimi Constance would not leave me the heck alone. So, I picked it up again. If it was a mess, it was my mess, and I was determined to mess with it until The End. And I did. It's on Amazon today. And people actually love it. So there!