Friday’s Fun Find: The Secret to Going Viral (A Case In Point)

Allow me to present Exhibit A:

Libs and Cathy


And now, Exhibit B: 59 Likes and counting with this image used as Profile picture on FB.

And so, people of the jury, it is my definitive conclusion that in order to go viral, you’ve got to be super cute.

But holding a tiny little puppy helps a lot, too. (Happy Birthday to Libs!)

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A Horn Tootin’ And Then I’m Off!

2014-07-06 13.58.12It occurs to me that I’m always a bit off.

And you know what? I’m okay with that. In fact, it’s probably a good thing when it comes to Not Your Mother’s Book…On Family. My copies came in the mail this weekend and though I haven’t had time to read all the stories, I laughed out loud at every word I did read. What’s more, the Beneficent Mr. Hall laughed out loud at my story, “The Bathroom Mystery.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Mister Man has to laugh. What’s the big deal, Cathy?

The big deal is that Mr. Hall may be supportive and all that but he’s not one to actually read my stuff. (His beneficence only stretches so far.) So for him to open the book–and read the story–and laugh out loud? I don’t even know what to say.

Wait. I do know what to say. Read this book.

You know what else? I’m in such a swell mood from the Beneficent Mr. Hall’s uncharacteristically HUGE support, I’m gonna give away a copy of Not Your Mother’s Book…on Family. So if you live in the US or Canada, leave a comment about your funny family. And if you share this post on Twitter or Facebook or on your blog, let me know and I’ll give you a couple extra entries.

Unless you’re Sioux or Lisa or Linda. Y’all can read your own books.

(And P.S. I’m off to the Week of Writing Retreat up in North Georgia and frankly, you never know quite what you’re gonna get up in North Georgia, interwebs-wise. So don’t panic if I don’t respond to your lovely comments. Just keep tweeting and adding up those entries! You could win Not Your Mother’s Book…on Family and laugh your butt off. Though to be honest, I’ve tried to do that for years, and my butt’s still there.)


Get Your FREE Chicken Soup (For The Soul)!

So, it’s Random Acts of Publicity Week and as it happens, I’ve been meaning to give away a copy of Chicken Soup For the Soul’s Married Life! for the longest time.

Now, honestly, those Chicken Soup people sell those books by the fistfuls, so they probably don’t need my random act of publicity.  But I like those Chicken Soup people, so they’re getting a little publicity, anyway.

In fact, I like them so much, I’ll give away TWO copies if I get over 15 commenters. So, why should you comment? Well, let’s see…

If you’ve ever thought you could write a great Chicken Soup kind of story, then reading essays from Chicken Soup books will give you an idea of how your story should be presented. Mostly, you’ll see that, even though you’re writing an essay,  it’s important to have a beginning, a middle and an end, just like you would with any story. And I’m going to be really, really honest with you here: it’s about the story. I’ve read a lot of Chicken Soup stories–some of them are beautifully, almost lyrically, written. You can tell there’s a serious writer behind the story. And some of them are very simply written, as if your neighbor’s leaning over the fence, telling you what happened. But they all have a strong beginning, a middle that moves along, and an end that leaves the reader smiling and nodding (or sometimes a little choked up. But still nodding.) Chicken Soup essays say, “Here’s what happened to me.” And Chicken Soup readers say, “Yes, yes. I know exactly what she/he’s talking about. I’ve been there, too.”

Of course, every story strives to find a universal theme so that the reader feels a connection. It’s just that with Chicken Soup, you only have to read about 700 to 800 words to get there. So you get a book with 100 moments of happiness.

Which brings me to the other reason why you may want to comment: Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Married Life is a bunch of stories about fun, family and wedded bliss. I’m not sure if “bliss” and “fun” and “family” really belong together, but maybe that’s just the Hall crowd. I’m sure you’ll find all kinds of stories that will make you laugh out loud and say, “Yes, yes. I know exactly what he/she’s talking about. I’ve been there, too.”

And really, who doesn’t want to laugh out loud at the foibles of the Beneficent Mr. Hall and his lovely, not to mention hilarious wife, me?

So leave a comment. Share a little publicity love and tell me something about a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. And remember, the more comments, the more books I’m giving away. I don’t even know when I’m drawing the name(s)…perhaps I’ll just keep it going all month long. Or at least until I find where I put all my Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Married Life! books.

Friday’s Fun Find: Juniorest Hall, The Copywriter

Sometimes, when I’m piddling trying to work through manuscript snafus, I clean up around the old home office. Recently, I came across this card, penned by (then 8 year-old) Juniorest Hall. Apparently, we were going to the beach and leaving The Beneficent Mr. Hall behind.

On the top of the card, he wrote:


But it’s the bottom of the card where his true talent comes out:

Notice the carefully drawn frown. Only on Juniorest Hall’s face. Juniorette Hall was standing beside me when I came across the card. Her remark: “Wow. Way to throw us all under the bus, John.”

But I don’t know. I think the kid’s got a future in the card business.

(If you have an idea for a whole card, you might want to check out the guidelines here or here or here, too. And if you’re the Queen of Quips, check out Ephemera. But seriously, y’all, I’ve got some more piddling work to do.)

Start August With Writing Fun

I cannot believe it’s already August, but calendars don’t lie (they do, however, mock you) so we need to get down to some writing business. Happily, it’s writing funny business!

I saw where Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader is having an Inanimate Object Photo Caption Contest. How fun is that? You only need to come up with a caption. Just a couple of brilliant words. That’s easy enough for the beginning of the end of summer, right? So take a look at the examples (I laughed out loud at the drunk octopus), grab your cameras, and start clicking and captioning.

I also saw that Pockets is having their Fiction Contest once again, and that should be fun if you’re in the mood to write a children’s story. Or maybe you have a story that just needs a bit of polishing before you send it out. Or maybe you’re going to take the story that you sent to the last Pockets Fiction Contest, change the names, and try again.

Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, take a look at their Writer’s Guidelines to get a feel of the Pockets kind of story and get ‘er done before the 15th.

And extra points (and a bronze medal, at least) if you can get those done while watching the Olympics.