The December Blues

Snowman familyDecember is a funny month for me, and not funny ha-ha. (Though I will watch Elf , maybe more than once, and laugh like crazy.)

As much I love the holidays, I feel more keenly the people who’re no longer around when December rolls in. And I’m not necessarily talking about the loved ones who’ve passed on, though I miss them dearly.

No, it’s the friends who were once in my life and now have moved away. And for me, most of those friends are writers.

Which is a good thing, I guess. I can keep up with Janice Hardy over at her Fiction University. Whenever I read Debra Mayhew’s blog posts, I can hear her voice. And Robyn Hood Black’s over at Artsy Letters, creating one-of-a-kind literary gifts and I see her in each one of them.

But it’s not quite the same as a long, chatty lunch or a night of writerly talking at an SCBWI conference, is it? And before I know it, I’m stewing in a big ‘ol mug of Blue Christmas.

Oh, great. Now I’m missing Elvis, too.

I think I need to pull myself up by my little Elf shoes and be thankful for all the lovely times I’ve been blessed to have with all kinds of writer friends, no matter where they are now.

And maybe call one of my writer friends who lives right down the road. Yeah, I think a long, chatty lunch with Lisa Ricard Claro will be just the ticket. She can tell me all about her next book in the Fireflies trilogy and I’ll celebrate with her by stuffing my face with Christmas cookies.

But I’ll watch Elf, too, just to be on the safe, holly-jolly side. So how about you? How do you dispel the December blues and get your holly-jolly back on? ‘Cause honestly, I’m starting to think about lots more writers I’m missing. And you’re probably one of ’em.

The Letter A Stands For Agent! Artsyletters! And Aw, Shucks!

So here I am, home again, home again, jiggity jig. And I will tell you all about the Rutgers One-Plus-One Conference…er, tomorrow. But today is for the Letter A (she wrote, showing off her mad rhyming skills).

Agent Courtney shared “Lies Writers Tell Themselves” from Alexander Chee, and it’s absolutely worth dashing over there for a read. And then you must leave a comment for Agent Courtney as she will do a critique contest later in the month if she gets 25 comments. And not like certain folks (Ahem) who might leave a half dozen comments to boost the count (because I already tried that and she didn’t seem too keen on the idea).

Artsyletters–you remember Robyn Hood Black’s very cool new venture?–is still offering the October discount. Don’t forget that you can order anything and get a 15% discount as long as you include CATHY2012 at the checkout. I hope she still has the artsyletter available that I want. Although to be honest, there are lots of artsyletters I like. So a person (say like the Beneficent Mr. Hall) who was searching for a birthday gift for an October birthday girl (say like Cathy C. Hall), could certainly find a delightful present.

Aw, shucks, y’all, it was nothing. (My story, The Chocolate Cake Bait, was over at knowonder! in September. Somehow, I missed the Auspicious debut, but I wanted to give a shout out to knowonder! because they offer stories every day, and maybe you know a couple little readers who might enjoy The Chocolate Cake Bait as well as lots of other fun tales. And I also wanted to let you, the Authors, know that they are closed for submissions now in order to catch up, but will be open again in January. Which gives you plenty of time to write an Awesome story.)

I think that’s about it, except to say…Ahhhh. It’s good to be home again.


Friday’s Fun Find: artsyletters!

Oh, I’ve found something really, really fun today over at my writer friend, Robyn Hood Black’s Etsy shop! She’s taken her artsy skills and created artsyletters! Which is…well, let’s ask Robyn, shall we?

 Robyn, I saw a pic of you recently, surrounded by your artsyletters wares. What exactly have you created in this new venture?

 Thanks so much for having me, Cathy!  I’ve been busy drawing, printmaking, conjuring up collages with altered pages from old books and fun vintage finds, and packaging note cards and bookmarks – making “art for your literary side.”

 Last weekend, I did my first art show in a couple of decades here in Gainesville, Ga., and it was a blast.  My hubby and daughter helped.  (Son was on a school trip, or he would have been recruited as well!  But he had to stamp my logo on shopping bags this summer.)

LOVE this idea! So what’s the inspiration for your artsyletters?

 I still love writing, of course – poetry, fiction, nonfiction – and speaking, but I needed something to supplement the income from that, which can be, um, sporadic.  I’ve always had an entrepreneurial bent and actually had an art business in my life B. C. (Before Children).  Now I’m recruiting those aforementioned pretty-much grown children to help with this new endeavor!

 Wait – is that laughter I hear about my supplementing an income by selling art?  O, ye of little faith.  Quit laughing.  I can still hear you.

 Actually, once the idea to make art celebrating the reading and writing life emerged, my muse wouldn’t let me sleep!    It seemed like a perfect way to tie together all my interests.  I’ve rekindled passions from earlier in my life such as calligraphy and illumination, and for once I’m glad I’m a pack rat and kept so many of those resources.  A trip up to a Highlights Founders workshop last year re-ignited a love for printmaking, and I find myself making pictures with all kinds of vintage books and other fun literary props. 

 My new obsession with altered page collages has me picking up any intriguing piece of metal off the side of the road and paying perfectly good money for old typewriter keys and parts, letterpress blocks, and the like.  I keep widening my “territory” to encompass new antique shops, in addition to discovering new vendors on Etsy!  By the way, stooping to pick up little bits of abandoned treasures (old junk) here and there is a great way to make family members walk faster, in the other direction… .

 I’ll be adding more items in each category in my shop and have really appreciated the positive feedback I’ve gotten so far.

Such a great gift for a writer! (Or anyone who loves letters, really.) How do we get our grubby little paws on them?

 Bring any paws and tails and anything else right on over to my Etsy shop AND, just for you and your wonderful blog readers, I’ve set up my very first COUPON CODE!  If you see something you like, type in CATHY2012 when prompted at checkout, and you’ll receive 15 percent off.  This will be good through October 31. :0)

 Also, I’ve set up a new blog just for this adventure, artsyletters.  My plan is not only to feature my own work, but to set up a weekly discussion with interested creative types about art and creativity.  The site is up, but look for that first creativity-themed post next Wed.  And maybe a give-away?? :0)

 I have an artsyletters facebook page, and next time my daughter’s home from college, we’ll get Twitter going, too!

 Oh, and for each purchase, I’ll donate a small percentage to literacy charities.  Being able to read is a priceless gift, and I’m happy to celebrate it with all these fun creations.

 Thanks for helping me spread the word, Cathy!

Thank you for dropping by today, AND providing a coupon code. I’ve got a feeling I’m going to wear CATHY2012 out!  As for the rest of y’all, get some shopping done over at artsyletters! (I told you it was really, really fun!)