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.)

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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…

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.