Finding Something Friday: An Advent Story in my Inbox (Courtesy of Cup of Comfort)

One of my Facebook buddies sent me a message today about my story, “Advent in the Hall House” being in the Cup of Comfort Newsletter, which just happened to be in my Inbox today!

Technically, “Advent in the Hall House” can be found in A Cup of Comfort Book of Christmas Prayer, which you can find in your local bookstore or at the Cup of Comfort website. It’s not just me who thinks this book might make a swell Christmas gift.

The Beneficent Mr. Hall said, “I’d buy it, even if I didn’t have to!” And Sally the Crazy dog said, “Marf, too!” Now, you can’t get a better endorsement that that, can you?

Go ahead and read my story by zipping over here. But don’t be surprised if you’re hankering to read the rest of the stories in a Cup of Comfort Book of Christmas Prayer. And have yourself some merry little Christmas Spirit.

Finding Something Friday on Cup of Comfort Competition and Connections

So, let’s say you have this GREAT story. A story that really happened, and maybe even changed your life. A story that grabs the heart strings and makes folks smile or gasp or take a hankie out. That’s a story that could win the Cup of Comfort Reader’s Choice Competition.

Finally, here’s an opportunity for that GREAT story that didn’t quite fit into any of the categories of Cup of Comfort books that were published (or to be published). Yes, there’s an entry fee. But there’s also some great prizes, including your story in the Cup of Comfort Reader’s Choice Edition. And best of all, people vote. (Okay, I realize that editors are people, too. But editors can be the teensiest bit picky. Whereas reader people are just looking for a GREAT story.)

So, write that GREAT story, join the C of C community, and submit by January 15th. Read more details here to improve your chances. And when your story is chosen and people get to vote, let me know. Because I’m reader people, and I’d love to smile, gasp, or yes, grab a tissue or two and vote for your story.

Oh, and you can tell everyone about your GREAT story when you sign up with Networked Blogs. It’s a Facebook application that allows you to network your blog all over the Facebook Kingdom. So, if you’re already the social type, chatting up friends and family on FB, sign up your blog and get the message out. ‘Cause you’re writing GREAT stories every day. Might as well share the wealth!

Tooting My Horn Tuesday for The Holidays!

I know what you’re thinking. I haven’t even carved the dang pumpkin and she’s going on about the holidays!

Here’s a thought. Just skip the dang pumpkin (Whee! No mushy pulp! No whining about how your pumpkin’s not as good as the neighbor’s pumpkin! No trips to the hospital to stitch up your finger!). Now, let’s share a moment of peace and move on…

Because before you know it, the holidays will be coming around the corner. And I know the perfect way to get that peaceful feeling and keep it throughout the month. A Cup of Comfort Book of Christmas Prayer has just been released, and it’s full of prayers and stories that will bring you closer to God during the holiday.

The first story in the book deals with Advent; in fact, it’s called “Advent at Hall House.”So you can start your holiday with a festive, fun rollick through my own humble abode, so to speak. All the folks you know and love will be there…Junior Halls, the Beneficent Mr. Hall, and even Sally the Crazy Dog.

You can read more here, and even purchase a book, if you like. You’re going to want to start reading A Cup of Comfort Book of Christmas Prayer before the frost is off the …well, let’s not get started on that again. (Happy Holidays!)

Finding Something Friday on Cup of Comfort Webinar

Everybody has a story. Everybody.

The thing is, some people are natural born storytellers, and some people, not so much. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn the art.

I learned by writing a lot of funny, personal essays. And getting a lot of those essays rejected. I’d like to say that the rejections were the result of some editor not appreciating the scathingly witty tales of Cathy C. Hall. But I suppose that would be a…what’s the word? Oh, yeah. Lie.

The truth is that I had to learn all the fundamentals. And that kinda took longer than I planned. But if Cup of Comfort had offered this webinar a few years ago, I might have jumped to the head of the essay class without all that banging of my thick head against the rejection wall.

Which leads to the email I found in my inbox. There it was, in black and white… Crafting a Narrative Essay:How To Apply Elements of Fiction to Your Non-Fiction Story. You can check it out here, at Cup of Comfort. You’ll learn about pacing and dialogue, setting and structure, and all kinds of other helpful things you need to write your hilarious (or not so hilarious, if you wish) story.

And then, if you wish, you can sell it. ‘Cause everybody likes to make a little money. Everybody.

Tooting My Horn Tuesday on Googling

It started innocently enough. I Googled myself once, just to see what would come up.

Then, I started Googling myself about once a week. Now, I can’t go to sleep at night until I’ve Googled myself. Pathetic. But there’s a rationale behind my narcissism. I mean, besides the obvious coolness of seeing “Cathy C. Hall” and Results numbering 214,000, give or take 200,000.

I like to see what I’ve been up to in the wide, wide web world. Today, for instance, I found my name leading the list of contributors to the Cup of Comfort Book of Christmas Prayer (Whee!). I thought my story would be in the book (due to be released in October, plenty of time for holiday shopping), but I don’t like to count my contracts (or toot my horn) till I have intangible proof. So, finding that post on the Cup of Comfort Blog kinda made my day.

But there’s more to Googling than coming upon surprises like that. Sometimes, I find my name mentioned on someone’s blog. And then I like to scurry over and take a peek, maybe leave a nice comment. It’s the polite thing to do…unless it’s a bogus entry.

Yesterday, I noticed a peculiar Google result, with my name cavalierly thrown in amidst other names and words. Not writerly looking at all, at all. Hmmm, I thought, that’s funny. But I wasn’t laughing when I clicked on it and all kinds of crazy warning messages started opening.

Quick as a flash, I shut things down and proceeded to hyperventilate. What the heck? I suppose that’s a new virus bait…throwing in someone’s name randomly, hoping that the someone will click on the result and open who knows what.

So, vanity has its price. I got out safely. But I wanted you to be extra careful out there, Googling yourself. Not that you’re in the habit, but, you know, just in case you’ve tried it…once or twice.