Critique Group Nostalgia

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Yeah, I was looking for my Inklets pic, but Libs in her Howl O Weenie shirt is much cuter.

I’m sprinting into the finish line on my latest middle grade masterpiece and so I’m thinking of critique groups.

Specifically, I’m thinking of my once wonderful critique group, The Inklets. We met regularly and we wrote and we critiqued and…well, you never appreciate what you have until you don’t have it, right? When several members moved on, both literally and figuratively, we didn’t have a group anymore.

I tried another group, eventually, but it was such a trek to get to the meetings. And they met on Sunday afternoons which, if I’m being honest, conflicted horribly with my football watching. So I had to give them up. (I know. Football, right? But all work and no play makes Cathy a dull writer.)

Now, I have a group of writers I reach out to online when I have something that needs a look-see. And they’re great, but I miss that human contact of the critique group that meets in person: the bickering, the defensiveness, the sulking! But mostly, I miss the laughter and fun, so when I have an opportunity to meet up with writers, at a workshop, a conference, a book-signing, I try to go. I need that writer camaraderie, don’t you?

Anyway, that’s a long introduction to let you know about my post over at The Muffin today: On Taking Advice From Your Critique Group. I hope you find something of value there, and if you have something to share about your experience, I’d love to hear it!

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Friday’s (Scary) Fun Find: October

So here we are in October and that can mean only one thing, y’all: MY BIRTHDAY!

Yeah, it’s pretty scary. It might even be fun. But it probably won’t be as scary fun as the cauldron of Halloween writing contests I’ve stirred up for you. Take a peek at this creepy lot:

file8081258144701Saugus.net Halloween Ghost Story Contest (Brought to you by those creepsters from New England. I’m already shiverin’ in my boots. Also, age groups from elementary to adult. BOOooooooOOOOooooo.)

Scariest Opening Scene Contest (Sponsored by the Tell-Tale Publishing Group. And hey, it’s just the opening. Plus, you can win the Vincent Price Award. Vincent Price, y’all. A chill just zipped down my spine.)

Halloween Short Story Contest (From the folks at Amberjack Publishing. And the winner will get $500. Yeah. Five hundred dollars. ACCCK!)

So off you go–scare up some good writing. And by good, I mean horrible. OoooooOOOOooooo.

A Halloweensie Story (With Apologies to Mr. Poe)

I may be too old for trick-or-treating, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t have a little boo-rific fun. And as I’m pretty fond of Edgar Allan Poe and poetry and Susanna Leonard Hill’s writing contests, it all came together. In a hundred words or less.

 

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The (Scaredy) Cat

 

Once upon a midnight spooky, while I roamed in my Suzuki,

Looking for my black cat, lost among the trees.

I thought I heard a mewing, or was it more like booing?

A booing ever softly, whistling through the breeze.

“H-hello?” I asked the dark, the shadows in the park.

When suddenly a cackle sounded in my ear.

 

 

And then I caught a peek, of something black—it streaked!

Across the grass, and sprang onto the floor!

I nearly jumped out of my skin, as it settled down right in—

my lap. Sweet dreams, kitty.  But for me, nevermore!

 

There’s still time for you to jump in and join the Halloween fun! As for me, I think I deserve a Butterfinger. Or six.

 

Friday’s Fun Find: Boo, Y’all!

contest and pumpkin 001As if October isn’t fun enough with my birthday, there’s also great big gobs of spooky, creepy, gory stuff with Halloween!

So while The Beneficent Mr. Hall is kicking me out gifting me with a lovely writer’s retreat up in the Blue Ridge Mountains (OOOOoooooOOOoooo), I might find time for a little Halloween fun. You can join me, in spirit at least.

Susanna Leonard Hill’s sponsoring her Third Annual Halloweensie Contest! All you have to do is come up with a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children and then post it to your blog between October 28th and October 31st for judging.  And if you need a little inspiration, you might want to read something wicked this way comes.

Check out the blurbs from Simon and Schuster’s latest Best Halloween Books for Adults. Or maybe just check out the trailers. ‘Cause seriously, this is some scary reading, y’all.