After the Conference: Mind=Blown


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…


The Zen and Zany Roller Coaster

germany-duisburg-tiger-turtle-106155So it’s March already and that means I’m gearing up for my regional SCBWI conference next week (I mentioned it at The Muffin in “Scheduling Success”).

That also means I’m going back and forth and up and down between sheer panic and zen moments. Something like this:

Panicky Cathy: Oh my word, I can’t believe I signed up to read my manuscript OUT LOUD FOR FEEDBACK in an intensive! What was I thinking? HAVE I LOST MY MIND?

Calm Cathy: I am one with the writing universe. All shall be well. No one will be listening, anyway.

PC: Of course they’ll be listening. That’s what they’re there for! An editor will be listening! And what if he’s the SAME person who’s doing my manuscript critique? Did I put my real name on that manuscript? How long does it take to get a name change???

CC: I am one with the writing universe. All shall be well. This is my tribe, they love me. At least, they claim to love me…do they love me? I mean really love me? Or–

PC: THEY HATE ME! And they’re Southerners! Everyone knows Southerners are much too polite to admit they despise you. If I hear one “Bless your heart–”

CC: I am one…all shall be…okay, stick a fork in it, I’m done. Sooooo…I’m gonna need a pen and a good fake name. What do y’all think of Harper Lee?


Learning Our Lessons

pexels-photo-404280Many years ago, after a particularly trying time, Oldest Junior Hall said to me, “Mom, I know I have to learn my lesson. But why does it always have to be the hard way?”

Why, indeed? I won’t go into the whole story about my cell phone and how it died at approximately 3:01 AM a week or so ago, but I will share that the week and a half without a cell phone was extremely challenging.

Considering that I didn’t even have a smartphone till a year and a half ago because I didn’t use my cell that much, I was pretty shocked at this reaction of mine. I mean, I smugly turned up my nose at those people constantly texting or sending pics or talking in grocery stores or whatever the heck folks were doing with their fancy schmancy cell phones.

And do I need to add that these were exactly the kinds of things I missed because I didn’t have my fancy-schmancy cell phone?!

I couldn’t take a picture of the birds outside when I was participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. ( I sorta can’t quite fathom that I was actually participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count but that’s life in the ‘burbs for you.) I stood in the grocery store, wondering if Juniorette Hall would be around for Sunday dinner and I stopped to call her in the middle of the pasta aisle and d’oh. I can’t even tell you how many times I wanted to text someone…ARRRGGGHHH.

Suffice it to say, by the end of the 10 (TEN!) cellphone-less days, my nose was firmly down. There might even have been a big tear dripping off it. So I take it all back. Every single smug word or thought I ever had. And while I’m at it, I take back every single smug word or thought I’ve ever expressed about the Interwebs or cars or laptops or appliances or hot water.

I’ve had enough of learning my lesson the hard way.



Horrible Horoscopes

concept-astrology-aries-universe-159668I had another one of those unhoroscopes today:

“In one culture, it’s unlucky to wear your clothes inside out. In another, getting married on Tuesday spells relationship doom. You’ve your own ideas on the subject, and they’ll dictate what you’re willing and unwilling to do.”

Here is my idea on this horoscope subject: HOW IS THAT A HOROSCOPE? It’s not a forecast, not a prediction of any future events. What it is, is a factoid (two actually) thrown in with a rather loose opinion.

Willing or unwilling to do? So I may or may not do something? Based on my very own ideas? That pretty much sums up living for…well, pretty much the human race. It’s called free will, Horoscope Writer Person.

I mean, that’s a real job, y’all. Sheesh.

Anyway, I would be even more upset this morning if I hadn’t used one of these unhoroscopes to inspire my post at The Muffin: The Extroverted Introvert (In Other Words, A Writer). So I suppose I did have my own ideas on a subject and I was willing to write about it.


I’m a Believer

Remember back in the summer, when I mentioned a story I wanted to tell you but I didn’t because I believed it might be perfect for the Miracles and More topic at Chicken Soup for the Soul?

Yeah, this story.  And now it’s in Miracles and More, along with 100 other stories of angels, divine intervention, answered prayers, and messages from heaven.

All of which I see evidence of pretty much every day. Of course, we see what we believe, and I believe that Shakespeare had it right: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

But you don’t have to take my word (or Shakespeare’s). Come join me and lots of the writers in Miracles and More as we share our experiences and wonders in a Twitter party:

Miracles and More Twitter Party Final

I’m looking forward to hearing more about these miracles–come join us. I’m a believer, y’all, not a trace of doubt in my mind, and we’ll make you a believer, too! (And come on, you know you want to sing that song with me, now, right?)