Friday’s Fun Find: A Bedtime Story and a Contest

When Libby does it, it's cute.

When Libby does it, it’s cute.

So if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you may have already seen this little exchange between me and Mister Man the other night. I had brought my laptop to bed with me because a friend asked me to read a recently finished manuscript. But as it happens, I, too, recently finished a manuscript and mentioned said completed manuscript to Mister Man. And here is what happened next:

Mister Man said, “Read your book to me.”
Me: “No.”
He: “Really, I want to hear it.”
He: “Seriously.”
Me: (Sighing) “Okay, I’ll read the first chapter.”
After three pages (mostly dialogue)…
He: “How long is this chapter, anyway?”
One and a half pages later…
Me: That’s the end of the chapter.”
He: “That was pretty good, I guess. So how many chapters does this book have?”
Me: “Thirty.”
He: “THIRTY!! That seems like an awful lot of chapters to make the poor kids read.”

Yep, he’s supportive that way.

The next night, Mister Man asked again if I’d read a chapter to him. To be honest, he’d been a pretty good sport about the ribbing he’d taken from the Facebook thing. So against my better judgement, I started the next chapter.

Which is also only five pages.

Five pages.

He was snoring (though he swears he was not) when I hit the end of page two. So last night, LAST NIGHT, he asked again if I’d read to him from my book.

“You only want me to read so you can sleep,” says I. “The minute I start talking, you start snoozing.”

“Not true,” says he. “I really like that book.”

“What’s the name of the book?”

“Uh…’night!”

Maybe you have a book, too. I don’t know who you can read it to but you can send it to the Master of the Inkpot Competition (David Fickling Books) and maybe get it read by someone who will stay awake long enough to get through the title.

Friday’s Other Fun Find: Christmas Carol Contest

file0002141508884Oh. My. Jingle. Bell.

I completely forgot to mention the Christmas Carol Contest because I was so busy singing…wait for it. Christmas carols.

So agent Sally Apokedak is sponsoring a Christmas Carol Contest with a 10-page critique as the prize! All you have to do is come up with a Writer’s Christmas Carol and post it in the comments by December 23rd! Even if you don’t have time to write a carol, I hope you’ll take a quick look at the holly-jolly creativity going on over there.

But I think I should warn you. You won’t be able to not sing. (Yep, I used a double negative. That’s how good they are.)

Tooting My Horn Tuesday on Whispering Prairie Press

ImageSo, yes, I’ve already trumpeted this success across the social media world. But not everyone’s blithely following along on Facebook, so for you, and you up front, and you, way back in the last row, I’m tooting my horn.

I won first place in the flash fiction contest at Whispering Prairie Press!

Now, honestly, I’ve been so entrenched in my novels that I haven’t worked on flash in a while. But I pulled up a story that I love–a story where I’d received some nice feedback–and as soon as I read through it, I could see what needed tweaking. So I worked some edits and sent it off.

That’s what working on your craft will do–no matter what kind of fiction you’re crafting. You get better. And then you apply what you’ve learned to whatever you’re writing.

So that’s a Tuesday Tip, too, I guess. Keep writing and you will get better.

(And maybe you’ll even win a sweet little cash prize from Whispering Prairie Press!)

Catching Up Is Hard To Do

ImageHonestly, I can never quite catch up when I take time off from technology. There’s just too much Twitter, too much Facebook, too much lovely stuff out there that keeps on going, even if I’m (mostly) unplugged. But I shall give a brief accounting for, and will zip around this week to make sure I haven’t missed anything like a Zombie Writer Apocalypse.

Firstly, the writer getaway was lovely and productive. And now you’re wondering just how productive and I will tell you that I got all the way to 33,000 words in the revision. I mean, this was a serious writing writer getaway. More than the word counts, however, was the conversation, the opportunity to bounce around plot ideas and character developments and story arcs. Think of your best critique group meeting ever, multiplied by ten (and throw in a couple adult beverages consumed on a rustic deck overlooking the Georgia mountains) and you’ll have an idea of this working writing vacation. 

But I also had the time to read start Twenty Master Plots (It’s a great read so far and I’d recommend it for those of you who are thinking, 20 plots? But there are only five basic plots–)and so while I was on the beach getaway (though not while I was actually visiting with Mom and Dad), I had time to think. And now I’m hacking away at those 33,000 words.

So it goes with revisions and getaways.

Thank you for your lovely votes over at Susanna Hill Leonard’s contest–my story placed and when I know what I’ve won, I’ll let you know. And maybe I’ll give that prize away. (I think it’s a how-to book)

And lastly, just a reminder to keep writing and keep submitting! Send in your stories for the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Those contract emails are going out all the time! And I received payment for a story I sold to The Red Squirrel Magazine (a children’s market in China), so I suppose now I can’t say, “Millions of Chinese people don’t care a whit about what Cathy C. Hall’s doing.”

Maybe a hundred Chinese kids are thinking even now, “Wonder if Cathy C. Hall’s gonna write another scathingly brilliant, not to mention funny, story?”

So it’s back to working and writing for me. Assuming, of course, that’s not a Zombie Writer pounding down my door.

Who Won Chicken Soup For the Soul’s Married Life?

Yep, it was time to spin the old Randomizer to find the lucky winner of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Married Life!

And the name at the top of the list is…Sioux!

I’m very happy to see Sioux’s name there because she left such an intriguing comment:

“Seriously, I’d love to win a copy, and perhaps someone will use one of your stories as a springboard for one of the 20th anniversary stories. You never know…”

She also left another comment:

“Okay, if we try to jack up the number of comments by each individual leaving multiple comments, would that be okay?

Just askin’.”

Just so you know the fix was not in, super Sioux’s name was entered only once. But I give her kudos for trying–and for buttering me up. I mean, she really wanted that Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Married Life.

Hold on a minute. Did I say winner? I meant to say winners. ‘Cause I’m giving away a second copy to lovely Lynn! Lynn is in a critique group with several writers who’ve been published in a Chicken Soup book, and I just know that her turn is coming up next. She’s been published in several wonderful markets…And hold on a sec. Aren’t Lynn and Sioux in the same critique group???

Those Wild Women With Pens have some serious winning and writing mojo going on. Maybe y’all need another member?

In the words of Sioux: Just askin’.