Friday’s Fun Find: What a Little Labor Will Do For You

IMG_0554-2The Beneficent Mr. Hall had a computer problem this morning and so everyone in the house (and by everyone, I mean me) had to shut down computers and wait for whatever magic he attempted to correct said computer problem.

Alas, it was an epic fail.

However, while Precious was shut down, I had a little time to labor away, cleaning my desk on this lovely Friday morning. Here’s what I found:

1. The best idea ever for a new manuscript (I’d written it down on a note and forgotten all about it. Which is odd–the forgetting all about it, I mean– ’cause seriously, it’s an amazing idea.)

2. A funny picture book story I’d written a year ago. (Which is quite fortuitous as I haven’t come up with a draft for August’s 12 x 12!)

3. ALL kinds of passwords. (Also fortuitous as I had NO idea how to get into quite a collection of different sites…)

4. A recipe for…well, I’m not sure. (I think it’s an all-natural cleaning solution. Or maybe it’s for human consumption. Either way, it’s gonna get some cleaning done.)

5. A new package of notes (wheee!) with a quote from Harry S. Truman: “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”

Which reminded me that I have been wanting to share this quote from Victor Hugo, and the Labor Day weekend seemed like the perfect time for it:


“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones;


and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.


God is awake.”


(And P.S. The mister finally got his computer going and I’ve moved everything I found to another spot on the desk. Now it’s time to take off work for the holiday weekend. Hope yours is relaxing!)

Finding The Right Writer’s Conference (Or No More Excuses)

___7019062I can’t remember if I told you about Pat Miller’s Non-Fiction for New Folks Writer’s Conference coming this fall in Texas, but I sure meant to tell you all about it!

So here’s the most important thing you need to know: the Early Bird discounted rate ends on September 1st!

Well, that may not be the most important thing you need to know. Probably you want to know about Pat Miller, who’s running the workshop. And I can tell you that she’s altogether delightful and a wonderful writer and really knows the business of non-fiction writing. If you’ve thought about non-fiction writing AT ALL, you might want to know this:

You are eight times more likely to be published
as a nonfiction writer than you are as a writer of fiction.
–Peggy Thomas, NF 4 NF Faculty member and co-author of Anatomy of
Nonfiction: Writing True                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Stories for Children

So if I weren’t already booked for our Southern Breeze SCBWI conference on the very same weekend, I might be there.

But since I am, I’d love to see you at WIK’14!

If you write for children, fiction or non-fiction, or if you’re an illustrator, too, I hope you’ll come join the fun. Lots of agents, a couple editors, TONS of know-it-all authors (who are happy to share everything they know!) will be in Birmingham, AL for the event. But if that date doesn’t work for you, check out the calendar of events offered by SCBWI and look for one in your corner of the world.

Hey, that reminds me of Shaw Guides to Conferences, because maybe you’re not a children’s writer. You can check out this site for all the latest news about any writer’s conference (or workshop) all over the globe!

So really, you can’t blame my bad memory on missing conferences any more.

(LOTS of other excuses will spring to mind, I’m sure, what with y’all being such creative writers. But it’s all on you, friends, I’ve done my duty.)

Two Things Thursday: Comps and WriteonCon

WascotNinja-300x250So today, in keeping with Two Things Thursday, it’s going to be short and sweet.

Short, because comp is the shortened version of the term, “comparable” or even “comparative.” And in my post over at The Muffin today, I explain a little something something about comps: how they work in general, and how they can work for you. If you have a manuscript–from picture book to adult fiction, including non-fiction–then understanding comps can be very helpful in your pitch and query journey.

And sweet, because WriteOnCon (a FREE online children’s writers conference, created for writers, by writers) has announced their list of agents and opened their forum. That means that you can post your query, or read other queries, and get ready for the fun ‘n games to begin.

So read up on comps and apply to WriteonCon. (And that’s another two things, thank you very much!)

Where Has All The Summer Gone? (A Writing Lesson Learned)

cow pics 210So I was piddling around with the cows this weekend, and sometime late Sunday night, wore out from cow pies and giggles, I came across an email. An email that had somehow burrowed into an inbox black hole.  And though I occasionally discover “lost” emails, they are most often junk emails.

This was not a junk email.

It was an editor email. An editor asking, mostly nicely, whether I was going to ever get to work on the next project. And I thought (after I freaked out about it having arrived in the black hole three weeks ago) that it hadn’t really been that long. I mean, geez, it was just…let’s see…three months ago since I finished the other project and said I’d get back to her soon.

Um…three months? Three. Whole. Months. OHMYWORD! ITHADBEENTHREEMONTHS!

So, yeah. Then I really freaked out. ‘Cause basically, I work all day, most every day, writing. What had I been doing?

I suppose I could make a pie chart and figure it all out, but I think that might be a wee bit depressing, to see how I’ve actually been wasting time.

And anyway, I have been working. Of course I’ve been working. I just don’t have anything tangible…say, like an improved bank account…to show for it. That’s the unfortunate side of working on picture book manuscripts or middle grade manuscripts or any manuscript, for that matter. You work and work and write and write–and all the while, you’re operating on all sorts of intangibles.

Like faith in yourself and your work, trusting that your craft’s improving, hoping that this time, you’ve captured on paper the story that’s in your heart.

You can’t put faith, hope, and trust in a bank. But I still believe that someday, that work will pay off.

In the meantime, I’ve responded to that email and thanked that editor for her extreme patience. And though she hasn’t given me a deadline, I kinda think I need to finish this project tout de suite. So there’ll be no more watching comedians or listening to Julie Andrews or messing with cows.

Well. Maybe one more cow pic. (Who knew they were so darn cute?) cow pics 211


Friday’s Fun Find: Rod Man

First, I laughed till I cried, watching this comic throughout the entire season of Last Comic Standing. So I was not surprised when he won.

Second, because you’re sitting there saying, “Yeah, Cathy, but what about the writing angle?” (Get it? Angle? ‘Cause we’re fishing for tips?) So this: if you want to write funny, you need to learn timing and pacing. Watch comedians.

And thirdly, how great is it that his name is Rod Man? (Like a fishing rod, right? D’uh.)