If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be Time To Post…

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The snake on my deck, which has NOTHING to do with this post. Except that on top of all this writing I had to do this week, I also had to take care of a snake on my deck.

I don’t have a regular day to post here at Cathy C. Hall. I just post when I’ve got something to say that may or may not be interesting. So I was kinda surprised when this day came along and I was just posting all over the place…

If you’re looking for how I can take one of my favorite sports and connect it to writing, then you’ll want to check out The Muffin and “If You Want To Succeed in Writing, You’ve Got To Play Ball!” I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed with my ability to take something that I have frittered away hours and hours upon and make something instructional out of it. Although, it wasn’t really me so much as the quote from…well, just give it a read and then you can let me know whether I struck out or hit a home run. (See what I did there? Lots more where that came from!)

And then writer and author Kathryn Schleich is celebrating National Volunteer Week and asked if she could use one of my Muffin posts on the subject and I was pleased to say yes! So if you want to see which post (hint: it’s about volunteering), head over here and take a look. And tour her site for some wonderful writing resources!

And speaking of volunteering, I manage the SCBWI Southern Breeze blog, sometimes writing posts and sometimes forcing asking very politely for volunteers to write up something. So if you’re in the Southern Breeze region (Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle), go see what’s happening in our region. We’d love for you to join us anywhere in SCBWI but if you’re around here, then we can be new BFs!

Whew! I think that’s enough posting for the day, don’t you?

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Have You Read This One Yet?

If you’re a regular reader here then you know Lisa Ricard Claro. We met years ago at an open writer’s critique group and found that we had a lot in common.

I mean, seriously a lot. It’s kinda creepy, if you want to know the truth. But I’m used to it by now. And so when I read Lisa’s latest blog post, listing some of her favorite reads, I laughed out loud. Because on yesterday’s Cathy C. Hall To Do List was “Blog–books.”

Yep. I was too tired last night at 10:00 when I sat down to write the post, figuring I’d just check what was going on in the world. That’s when I read Lisa’s list of books; they sound like excellent reads. But first, I think you should read my list of great reads (because technically, I’ve had “Blog–books” on my To Do List for a couple of weeks now):

The Write Man by Lisa Ricard Claro

51FhOrynCpLI read Lisa’s novella back when it first came out in December or maybe early January, and it was an absolute treat to be transported to the breezy Barefoot Bay when the cold winds were blowing around here. (And truly, Lisa’s descriptive writing of this seaside setting is lyrical and lovely and downright passionate!) I loved, too, the kidlit writers and their romance, but I will happily admit that if you write about a pirate, I will follow you anywhere. (And if you haven’t been following Lisa’s romance reads, then you can start with The Write Man, but you’ll want to catch up with her Fireflies series!)

 

Blood Ties by J. T. Hardy

51M3pWDKBuLJ. T. Hardy is the writing team of Janice Hardy and her husband, Tom. And I expect they’ll be collaborating on a lot more novels to come because Blood Ties is a heckuva ride with a gritty (yet surprisingly witty) protagonist in Grace Harper, and I have to know what happens next. You can read more about the particulars, but all you really need to know is this: if you’re a fan of supernatural, fast-paced, urban fantasy thrillers that read like screenplays (and P.S., the dialogue could be a master class in itself), you’re going to want to pick up Blood Ties. But clear your calendar, ’cause you’re not going to want to put it down till you get to the very end. Which really, is just the beginning.

The Falling Between Us by Ash Parsons

9780399168482Ash Parsons writes compelling Young Adult novels and her latest release, The Falling Between Us, is…is there a word for beyond a page-turner? Because there’s so much more to this story than its mystery-suggestive tagline, “What happened to Joshua Blackbird?” Though maybe that’s meant to suggest multiple layers of meaning, now that I think about it. Because this story, with its exploration of fame, fortune, and social media, exposes all the sides of our exploitative culture. It’s a provocative and eye-opening novel and a worthy read no matter what your age.

 

Spring! Glorious Spring!

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A tiny door and Popsicles–yep, that’s spring!

 

When the yellow haze spreads across…well, everything, then I know spring has sprung in my little corner of the world. And despite all the sneezing and the knowledge that in about a week, it’ll be awful hot and muggy, I love spring!

Not as much as I love summer, but still. I’m ready to toss my much-loved boots in the closet and slide my pale toes into my comfy and much-loved sandals (and flip-flops). I can’t wait to take my books out on the deck and enjoy my afternoon siesta there under the glaring sun. I love opening doors (even when I have to chase out the occasional bird and/or wasp that flies in), flinging open windows, folding up blankets and stuffing them away. I love hanging plants and cheering on my favorite baseball team (and please, please let the Atlanta Braves be better this year) and working up a sweat on my walks.

Yep, I’m pretty crazy about spring. I’m not as crazy about spring cleaning, but even that onerous task can have its bright points when I apply the principles to my writing business. And I thought you might want to spring clean your writing business, too, so I shared all about it over at the Muffin in Spring Cleaning, Writer Style.

(And if you are a writer of a certain age, you heard the tune from Love, American Style when you read the title of that Muffin post. Such a cheesy show, and probably way politically incorrect. But yeah, I kinda loved that, too.)

Yay for An Award! And Kilts! (And Sunshine!)

sunshine-blogger-awardGosh, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten an award! I suppose because one must do something–and generally do it pretty well– to get an award. Except this award, called the Sunshine Blogger Award!

All I had to do was be a blogger. Check! And get nominated. Check (Thanks, Lisa Ricard Claro)! And answer 11 questions.

ELEVEN QUESTIONS! Well…we’ll see how that goes…

What do you love most about blogging/writing?

I love blogging because sometimes, I just need to write about something going on in Cathy C. Hall World and the actual people in my actual world tend to not listen to me. At least with blogging, I don’t know when people aren’t listening.

Name a place you’ve never been but would love to visit and why.

So I’ve never been to the United Kingdom and I’ve wanted to go for ever so long. Mostly because I love a Brit accent and all those gorgeous pictures of Ireland and a Scot in a kilt and Abbey Road and the Tower of London and castles and Scots in kilts. And tea and scones and driving on the wrong side of the road and oh, yeah, a Scot in a kilt; did I mention that? But he better look like Duncan MacLeod from Highlander or I’m going home.

Describe your favorite snack.

This is a tough one because I’m not much of a snacker in the sense of eating between meals. I just eat my snack stuff with my meals. (They’re very long meals.) Still, I never saw a bowl of Chex Mix that I didn’t put a hurtin’ on. (Well, maybe not the pretzels. I leave them because duh. Pretzels.)

What’s the best movie you have seen lately?

LOVED The Greatest Showman. Not the story so much because it’s a stretch to call it P. T. Barnum’s life, but the songs and the dancing and Hugh Jackman? Please, Sir, I’d like some more.

What is your favorite season and why?

Easy-peasy: Summer. I hate being cold. (And yes, chilly, nip-in-the-air, brisk–they’re all cold. Also yes, I know I live in the South and have no idea what cold is. I plan to keep it that way.)

Do you believe in ghosts?

Do I believe in ghosts? Have you read my blog?

What advice do you give but don’t take yourself?

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

If you had to choose one favorite color what would it be?

I think I would choose blue because there are so many variations and I love all of ’em. Plus, I think I might be able to sneak in indigo and lavender and I love those colors, too. I might’ve just cheated on this question. I probably should’ve added “Don’t cheat” on that last question.

When is the last time you laughed?

I just laughed when I wrote that last answer. I laugh at myself all the time. I strongly suspect that Libs laughs at me, too, even if it sounds like yippy barking.

Do you prefer a tablet or actual book while reading?

Another easy one: BOOK.

You’ve just discovered you’re a superhero—what’s your name and superpower?

Ooooh, that’s a good one. I shall call myself “Inbox Woman”! Watch as I answer an entire inbox of 1,298 emails in 32 seconds! (And adding smiley faces to each one!)

Now, let me see…there were rules somewhere.

To accept the Sunshine Blogger Award, I must do the following:

RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you. (Thank you, Lisa! *waves*)
  2. Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you. (Done!)
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award. (I’d love to see Tina Cho and Debra Mayhew’s answers!)
  4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated. (Um…I feel like these are really good questions so thanks, Lisa! Just use these, Debra and Tina!)
  5. Notify the bloggers you have nominated. (Um…y’all saw your names right up there, right?)

I think that’s about it, y’all. Except to say that I needed a little sunshine today because it’s the second day of spring and I live in Georgia, for cryin’ out loud, and the wind chill is making it feel like 38 today. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

 

After the Conference: Mind=Blown

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Friend Tracey M. Cox fan-girling over LSP. 

So I’m back from my Southern Breeze SCBWI conference and yesterday, I realized I hadn’t written my blog post for WOW!Women-on-Writing that was scheduled for today, and I had this moment. I actually considered sending a quick note saying, “Get someone else to write something because my brain is fried and I can’t think of anything, much less make sense!”

I did not even skip out on my Muffin posts when Mister Man up and died on me so I took another moment to calm down. I had a cuppa. And then, quite sensibly, I thought, I wrote about the conference. You can read “Top Tips for Writer’s Conference Attendees” and let me know if I made sense.

To be honest, some conferences are better than others. And this one will land in the top of my “Best Of…” list:

Best of keynote speakers with Linda Sue Park. If you ever have a chance to hear her, please go. You will be inspired and energized. And if you haven’t read her Newbery-award-winning novel, The Single Shard, please read it. Yes, it’s middle grade but that’s beside the point. It will expand and enrich you, no matter how old you are.

Best of intensives with Scholastic editor, Matt Ringler, and a roundtable manuscript critique workshop. Not because he raved about my manuscript (he didn’t), but because when you hear an editor respond in five minutes or so to 4 pages of a manuscript, you get a ton of great information and insight into an editor’s thought processes. And not just for your own work but for all the manuscripts in the room. So if you ever have that opportunity at a conference, please be brave and sign up for it.

Of course, your brain will be fried and you won’t make much sense for a couple of days, but I think that’s a fair trade out.

Though in my case, it might not be that noticeable…