I Won A Wonderful Book!

An exciting day here in Cathy C. Hall World ’cause I won a book!

I tore into the envelope and then I…well, I just stopped in mid-rip because the book is so gorgeous.


And I wanted to tear into the book right then and there but I stopped again because…well, it’s Irene Latham and her wonderful poetry and that’s something that one doesn’t tear into. One pauses and finds a nice spot–say, the sunny deck outside the kitchen–and then one sits and drinks in the poetry.

Ahhhh. And then one reads the interesting facts about Antarctica and feels snobbishly superior to all those folks who think they know Antarctica. Finally, one sighs and goes back to the beginning to read again. (One might even sit there pondering when one’s kidders will have kidders so that one can read wonderful books of poetry to said kidders…)

Anyway, if you have kidders or grandkidders, treat yourself to When the Sun Shines on Antarctica by Irene Latham. ‘Course, my book is extra special because I won it!

I almost don’t want to tell you how I won it because then maybe you’ll win the next book that I want, but Sheila’s so generous…so, okay. Get yourself over to Sheila Renfro’s blog where she gives away at least one wonderful book a month. You’ll find picture books, middle grade books, writing books…well, just a bounty of books! All you have to do to win is…

Hmmmm. I think you’ll just have to zip over and find out for yourself. I mean, I don’t want to make it too easy for you. After all, I’ve got my fingers crossed for this month’s book!


Tuesday Tip: Rhyme Time (Or Yes You Can! Maybe.)

ImageWhether you pen poetry or picture books or anything in between, understanding rhyme helps you write better. If you can get a good grasp of meter and beat and rhythm in your writing–whether you actually rhyme or not–your words will sing on the page.

But most of us fools just rush in where angels (and very experienced writers) fear to tread. That is to say, we write a rhyming poem or story and think, “Wheee! I’m brilliant!”

Sometimes, we are. Most of the time, we are not. And this is the royal “we” I’m using as I’m including my high-falootin’ self in this group. Honestly, I’ve always loved poetry. I loved poetry when I was just a wee, little child (A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES was one of my favorite books!) and I read books of poetry through my elementary school years, to high school, to college and beyond. I have a book three inches thick of favorite poetry I’ve copied down that I still thumb through (and it includes my own poetry as well. Um…I skip those dreadful verses).

The point is, friends, loving verse and understanding how verse works is not the same. So if you’re way past your schooling years and those boring classes where you had to read poetry and mark scansion and such (which you totally never really got, anyway), you might be ready to look at poetry again and perhaps fall in love with verse (and improve your own). Here’s a good place to start: For Better For Verse.

And then you’ll be ready in April when RhyPiBoMo comes around.

Or maybe just ready to take a second look at that poem you wrote and thought was brilliant. You know, before you actually send it out into the world.

Friday’s Fun Find: Taking Out The Trash

ImageTechnically, taking out the trash is not Friday’s Fun Find. That today, May 10th, is Clean Up Your Room Day, makes this day kinda special. Mothers (and okay, three dads out there) are chasing after kids as I write, waving the calendar in their kids’ faces, yelling, “But it’s an official holiday!”

And even though I don’t have a clutch of kids hanging about my house these days, I do have the Beneficent Mr. Hall, who has been a muse for many a piece of writing. Including this (ridiculously appropriate for today) poem.


                                             Taking Out the Trash


                        It was just ‘round the time when kids fall asleep,

                        And fathers plop down in soft chairs.

                        With dishwashers running, and TVs a-humming,

                        As mothers tread soft on the stairs.


                        “Did you take out the trash?” she asked with a smile,

                        She doubted he’d gotten right to it.

                        “Ten minutes,” he said, never turning his head.

                        Why rush around now and do it?


                        She picked up the gym clothes, the games and the books.

                        She put everything back in its place.

                        He sprawled on his seat, with his two propped-up feet,

                        A look of sheer bliss on his face.


                        She packed all the lunches, wrote checks, stamped the bills,

                        Fed the dog, even cleaned the fish bowl.

                        He cheered on his team, with a whoop and a scream.

                        “The trash, please!” she begged. His eyes rolled.


                        “Okay,” he replied to the tone in her voice,

                        With a sidelong glance at the mother.

                         “I can never relax,” he said, stating the facts.

                         “It’s just one thing after another!”






Finding (SCBWI) Money for Writing

Now, who doesn’t like money for writing? But you can’t get something for nothing if you want to win one of the SCBWI Work-in-Progress grants. You’re going to have to apply.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re working like a dog on your latest manuscript, and you could really use a little financial help whilst working. Let’s say you need to make a trip for research. Or maybe you need to make a retreat for uninterrupted writing time. Honestly, maybe you’d just like grocery money. You can use the grant money for whatever your need is.

And there are different categories of grants, with main winners and runners-up. Your chances of winning a grant (as long as you’re an associate or full member of SCBWI) are good. But you can improve your chances by working  just as hard on that grant as you do your work-in-progress. Check your spelling, write complete sentences, present yourself professionally. Make SCBWI want to throw that money at you!

That’s why I’m mentioning it now. Go check out all the details here and start working on the application. You have a full two months to make everything spiffy! On the other hand, you only have a few days to make your children’s poetry spiffy.

But you can do it! Check out my post over at the Hall of Fame regarding several poetry contests. I think every contest had a category for children’s verse. If you have a wonderful poem, hanging about collecting cyber-dust, polish it off and send it out. The entry fees are so reasonable, you can’t afford to pass this opportunity up.

‘Cause you know…who doesn’t like money for writing?!

Got Poetry Smarts?

Kidmagwriters.com is looking for someone to write a column about poetry forms. I suppose it would be a huge plus if you actually wrote children’s poetry. Then, when you were going on and on and on about a specific poetry form, like, oh I don’t know…whatever…you could write a poem, explaining the form.

I think you might need to actually know quite a bit about poetry, too. Guess I’ll be passing on this market. Not because I don’t LOVE poetry (I do!) And not because it’s not a paying market (tons of exposure here!). Mostly because I can’t think of a poetry form…

Wait! Would a limerick do?

There once was a writer named Cath, who wouldn’t get out of her bath.

I think so much better, when my brain is wetter

So bring on my homework in Math!!

Hey, maybe I should rethink this whole thing?  Contact the editor at kidmagwriters.com…before I do.