Have You Read This One Yet?

If you’re a regular reader here then you know Lisa Ricard Claro. We met years ago at an open writer’s critique group and found that we had a lot in common.

I mean, seriously a lot. It’s kinda creepy, if you want to know the truth. But I’m used to it by now. And so when I read Lisa’s latest blog post, listing some of her favorite reads, I laughed out loud. Because on yesterday’s Cathy C. Hall To Do List was “Blog–books.”

Yep. I was too tired last night at 10:00 when I sat down to write the post, figuring I’d just check what was going on in the world. That’s when I read Lisa’s list of books; they sound like excellent reads. But first, I think you should read my list of great reads (because technically, I’ve had “Blog–books” on my To Do List for a couple of weeks now):

The Write Man by Lisa Ricard Claro

51FhOrynCpLI read Lisa’s novella back when it first came out in December or maybe early January, and it was an absolute treat to be transported to the breezy Barefoot Bay when the cold winds were blowing around here. (And truly, Lisa’s descriptive writing of this seaside setting is lyrical and lovely and downright passionate!) I loved, too, the kidlit writers and their romance, but I will happily admit that if you write about a pirate, I will follow you anywhere. (And if you haven’t been following Lisa’s romance reads, then you can start with The Write Man, but you’ll want to catch up with her Fireflies series!)

 

Blood Ties by J. T. Hardy

51M3pWDKBuLJ. T. Hardy is the writing team of Janice Hardy and her husband, Tom. And I expect they’ll be collaborating on a lot more novels to come because Blood Ties is a heckuva ride with a gritty (yet surprisingly witty) protagonist in Grace Harper, and I have to know what happens next. You can read more about the particulars, but all you really need to know is this: if you’re a fan of supernatural, fast-paced, urban fantasy thrillers that read like screenplays (and P.S., the dialogue could be a master class in itself), you’re going to want to pick up Blood Ties. But clear your calendar, ’cause you’re not going to want to put it down till you get to the very end. Which really, is just the beginning.

The Falling Between Us by Ash Parsons

9780399168482Ash Parsons writes compelling Young Adult novels and her latest release, The Falling Between Us, is…is there a word for beyond a page-turner? Because there’s so much more to this story than its mystery-suggestive tagline, “What happened to Joshua Blackbird?” Though maybe that’s meant to suggest multiple layers of meaning, now that I think about it. Because this story, with its exploration of fame, fortune, and social media, exposes all the sides of our exploitative culture. It’s a provocative and eye-opening novel and a worthy read no matter what your age.

 

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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.

 

What’s In YOUR Gratitude Journal?

2013-05-25 20.36.42So the last couple of nights, I’ve written the same word in my gratitude journal: power.

In my corner of the world, the power went out on Monday afternoon, but not at my house. It’s an odd thing, but the first five or six houses in the neighborhood are powered by the local EMC, whereas the rest of the neighborhood relies on Georgia Power. My house is the dividing line between the two, and sometimes, during storms or ice or winds and rain, I’ll keep my power while right next door…darkness.

On any given day, I don’t think too much about the power that keeps my TV humming and my fridge cold, that lets me answer emails and read a good book before I go to bed. But then comes a time when lines go down, when I see post after post of friends without power, or look out the window to the black abyss that’s my street, and I realize how grateful I am for electricity. How comforted I am by the glow of the street light outside my bedroom window.

We just don’t really appreciate what we have until we don’t have it, do we? That’s what I said to Lisa, who moved to Florida a few months ago. We used to meet at least once a month for a critique group but then our group broke up and she got busy with her novels and I spent a lot of time taking care of my parents. So though we lived only ten minutes from each other, we rarely had the time to get together. We could get together, we always figured, so there was no rush. And then suddenly there was a rush for one more lunch that we never quite managed before she left.

I miss Lisa.

And every time I take a shower, I miss another friend from my critique group, Deb. Which wait–that didn’t come out quite right…

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Juniorette Hall thinks it’s crazy that I have a notepad in the shower. I beg to differ.

Deb sent me a notepad that sticks on the shower wall, with paper that somehow you can write on and still read after you get out of the shower. It’s amazing! She knew that I often come up with my best ideas in the shower and so when she found this amazing notepad, she had to send it to me. I don’t know how I managed before this brilliant notepad came into my life, and I never write something down that I don’t say a heartfelt thank you to Deb, even though she can’t hear it.

Deb and Lisa and all y’all, too, are on my mind after this long week. I hope all is well with you and yours, and know that your name, if not in my gratitude journal, is in my heart and prayers.

Oh! And power. Power’s going to be on the list for quite a while!

I Have a Really Good Excuse

2011-03-30 12.54.32

It started when the county chopped down my favorite half pink, half white dogwood.

It’s the end of March and I know that means it’s time to report on my month’s doings (or not doings, as the case may be). But really, I have a good excuse for this month’s slacking off. Come to think of it, I have several good excuses.

As I mentioned above, there was the whole tree cutting debacle. The county is widening a main road up the street from me and it was bad enough when they took out enough pines to build a small village of log houses. But The Special Dogwood that makes me smile every time I pass its blooming March splendor (and I pass it a lot)? How could I be expected to write through such a blatant disregard for my tree?

Then I had that SCBWI conference, and there’s a ton of stuff to get done before a conference, right? Totally legit excuse for not getting the writing going.

And then I also had a reception in Athens at the Georgia Children’s Book Awards and Conference. Not for my books; SCBWI was there to promote our regional authors, the ones who like to network and get those school visits. Also a totally legit excuse because there was also a lot of stuff to get done before the reception.

I did manage to get several books read even though I had that very bad, horrible, no good cold (also a legit excuse for lollygagging, by the way). Let’s see, I think the total read was five, so I’m still a couple of books ahead on my Goodreads goal. I had to wait two months to get Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir by J. D. Vance, but it was well worth the wait and my good read pick of the month.

I got fired up about a picture book idea after the conference and I’ve written a rough first draft so there’s that. And I managed a couple of blog posts, too. Which brings me to today’s post over at The Muffin where I talk about “When You Don’t Want To Write.”

March was…challenging, remembering how the Beneficent Mr. Hall was so great about shoring me up during the March conference craziness. But sometimes, just when you think you want to throw in the towel, someone comes along.

So a big thank you to Lovely Lisa for a long lunch. And for being there, just when I needed shoring up. I can highly recommend long, long lunches with a writer friend for those times when you need a good excuse for whatever ails you.

And here’s hoping your March was delightfully full of words and writer wisdom; I’d love to hear all about it. It also shores me up when I hear about my writer friends’ successes (and yeah, I could use some fall back good excuses, too, just in case April slaps me upside the head. The county is not nearly done).

Makes Me Want To Shout!

It’s a sharing-the-good-news kind of day here at Cathy C. Hall because so many of my writer friends have been so very busy! Shout-outs to…

Linda O’Connell, who’s joined the team of instructors over at Coffee House for Writers! Linda, aka the Queen of Chicken Soup for the Soul Books, will be teaching the fine art of essay writing and I can’t think of anyone better suited for the task. If you’ve been trying and trying and trying to get your essays published, try taking this class. I promise you’ll improve with Linda leading the way to publication.

Suzanne Lilly, who’s just released the last book in her California Argonauts series, Gold Rush Barons, and it is a gem of a story! (See what I did there? Gold…gem? Well, I am a writer.) Gosh, I hate to see the story of George and Lucinda come to an end…they’re such strong characters. And I learned so much in this riveting historical fiction, too; I’ll bet I could easily win the “California Gold Rush” category on Jeopardy!

Lisa Ricard Claro, who’s also just released a book–Love to Believe, the second romance in her Fireflies series! If you’ve been missing Maddie and Caleb, then it’s time to catch up–except this time around, you’ll want to know how Caleb’s sister, Rebecca, fares in a man’s world. And you’ll be dying to know what secret she’s keeping from handsome lawyer, Sean Kincaid. Or is it Sean keeping secrets from her? Hmmm…I guess you’ll just have to read Love to Believe for yourself!

Nanci Turner Steveson, whose charming middle grade novel, Swing Sideways, is set to release any day now! Oh my, I loved this story of two unlikely friends spending a summer on the chase for wild horses and…you know what? Go read it before I spill the whole plotline! And when you finish Nanci’s book, check out Janet S. Fox’s creepy good Gothic thriller, The Charmed Children of Rookskill CastleBoth Nanci and Janet were with me at the Highlights Whole Novel Workshop (Nanci in the classes; Janet as an instructor) so I can say that I knew them when.

Though, honestly, they were already gifted storytellers and writers even then. And I’m thrilled to see all the good things happening for them, as well as all the friends I’ve mentioned here today.

It really does make me want to shout, y’all.