Synchronicity and Writing Connections

I’m always excited when synchronicity comes along in my life. So you can imagine how I laughed out loud when I received a Darakwon book in the mail this week, authored by my friend, Suzanne.

Um…hold on a tic. You’re going to need the backstory. So here’s what happened: I just finished the first draft of my latest Darakwon book. But when I received my editor’s notes, she requested a different format (more of a report than story format). Which would require a major revision.

Now, I don’t get too worked up about revisions; it’s part of the writing process. But I sometimes am challenged by my friends at Darakwon, mostly because we communicate a little differently. I did not want to end up doing three or four revisions until we were, quite literally, on the same page with this book. So I asked the editor to send me a sample chapter of the report format and she immediately agreed to send me an entire book.

Perfect! And here’s the book she sent to help me with my revision:



Can you see the author’s name on the bottom? Take my word for it, it’s my friend, Suzanne. But if you want to know how synchronicity comes into this story, you’ll need to zip over and read “Writing Connections: You Never Know” over at The Muffin.

And then you can laugh out loud, too. (And P.S. Thanks, Suzanne! Again.)


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.



(Semi-Important)Things I Learned This Week

file4111342838965Oh. My. Word. I was off this week, packing up a lifetime or so of stuff in my parent’s house and I didn’t have cable or internet.

So I went to the library parking lot–because you can use their hotspot 24/7–and it wasn’t working.

Are you kidding me?

I found out some interesting things about Cathy C. Hall this week, y’all:

  1. I can live fairly easily without TV.
  2. I can read an entire book in a couple days, if I don’t have TV. (I so loved Suzanne Lilly’s Gold Rush Barons!)
  3. I get a little testy by Day 2, sans the interwebs.
  4. I get a LOT testy by Day 4, sans the interwebs.
  5. You may not want to be around me on Day 5, sans the interwebs.

Anyway, I’m home now to my 24/7 interwebs which brings me to two three more things:

  1. You might have missed my post on The Muffin this week called “Selling Books, 24/7.” You can still zip over and catch up because hey, it’s about selling books, 24/7.
  2. And I found a delightful email in the PACKED inbox about WOW! Women-on-Writing’s being named as a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers! And that includes all the bloggers over at the Muffin! And that makes me a winner!WDBestWebIconsmall_zps9cscebaq
  3. Would anyone care to come over and unpack all my stuff? ‘Cause I’m kind of tied up on the interwebs, 24/7.

Friday’s Fun Find: Wonderful Fundraisers By Writers

DSC03525-BMy lovely friend, Suzanne, dunked herself with ice and threw out the ALS challenge to yours truly. And I recruited Cathy-on-a-Stick (unbeknownst to the little pic) to stand in for me. But one thing led to another while I was visiting dear old Dad, and before you could say, “Aiiieeee! That’s cold!”, I was on my way home and the moment for dunking had passed. And the ALS organization had raised tons of money!

Still, I wanted to give in some way to somebody. And then along came a heads up through 12 x 12 about an editor who’s Racing for Cancer Research. Gee, I thought, that’s an excellent cause–I mean, if you’re gonna run, might as well be running for a good reason–plus, this young woman will provide a critique of 1500 words in exchange for a $25 donation. So I thought, as I’m a writer, that might be fun and certainly worthwhile.

So I figured, okay, that’s who’ll get my check. But then, another writer friend posted about Jean Reidy and how she’s raising money for Reach Out and Read Colorado. And I fell in love with this program of doctors and nurses, giving books to our youngest readers. And then Jean Reidy (and I love her books, too!) sweetened her cause by giving those who donated $5 a chance to win one of a number of prizes.

Well.  Now I’d found two lovely causes that needed my help–and I thought you, as writers and readers, might be interested, too.

So thank you to Suzanne who gave me a push to think about helping others. Sorry I didn’t get to the dunk, but I will get to the writing of checks.

(And as an added bonus, Cathy-on-a-Stick has come out of hiding.)


Next Stop on the Writing Process Blog Chain (Hint: It’s Me)

2009-02-10 16.23.12Sure, t’is a lovely day to be writing.

It’s a wee bit rainy on this St. Patrick’s Day morning, but that’s all the better for this lass to keep her pounding at the keys. If the sun were shinin’ bright, a certain strawberry blonde might be up to all sorts of shenanigans. So a big thank you to the good Lord who brings the rains, and a big thank you to Margo L. Dill, who is any day now releasing her new novel, CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO CURSES! Margo invited me to answer a couple questions on the writing process (and if you want to know all about Margo’s news and process, check out the last stop on the blog chain here.)

On to the Writing Process questions!

1. What am I working on?

Whew! Just last night, I had a wee bit of a panic attack, wondering how I would manage all that I’m working on! I’m finishing up a children’s book for the Korean education market that’s been as much of a learning process as a writing process! I’m having a blast, tapping into my picture book writing-side over at Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12. But honestly, it’s 12 books in 12 months and SO many writers, sharing info. And contests. And must-read books. My wee little brain is about to bust! And I’m working on a bookmap in preparation for a plot intensive by Cheryl Klein at the Springmingle conference in a few weeks. (And something tells me, I’ll be revising yet again when all is said and done.)

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Let’s see…I suppose I can answer this question as it relates to the EL book I’m finishing. It’s a bit different for me to write with such specific guidelines, in meeting reading levels, defining topics, creating review questions. And it’s a departure from fiction, where my comfort zone lives. But when I jump into non-fiction for kids, I learn so much–and I’m challenged with having to come up with a creative story framework to keep the kiddies interested. So it’s been stretching my writing process, but in a good way!

3. Why do I write what I do?

At this point, seven years in to my writing career, I try to choose projects that will bring me closer to my ultimate goal: writing books for kids. It doesn’t mean that I won’t pen a limerick for the Saturday Evening Post contest or send out a Chicken Soup for the Soul story. But mostly, my humor finds its home in children’s writing, and that keeps me pretty darn busy.

4.  How does your writing process work?

Hmmm…my writing process. Honestly, it’s not that complicated. I have a calendar over my desk with everything I want to work on during the month. First thing every morning, I pick a project for the day and then I do a little hop-skip dance around the office, maybe sing a bit, twirl a chicken over my head,  toss glitter at the keyboard.

Nah, just kidding. I do look at my calendar, decide what I need to work on, and then put my butt in the chair and get to it. I joke about getting ideas in the shower, but that’s no joke. The creative part of the writing process–the time when I need to think up a plot, figure out how to get from point A to point B, fine-tune a character–comes most often when I’m doing something else, something where I don’t have to concentrate. That just happens to be bathing.

Faith ‘n begorrah, I’ve gone on enough! It’s time to pass the chain along for the next bloggers who’ll be answering the same questions on March 24th.

Friend and author Suzanne–well, she writes as Suzanne Lilly, which is just about the BEST pen name ever, is a full-time teacher who somehow finds the time to write sweet and suspenseful, YA romances. Her latest published release is about gold rush days and…you know what? I’ll bet that’s exactly what Suzanne will be talking about, so join her next week at her blog.

Kathy Halsey is a newcomer to the blogging world, and she’s joined forces with a terrific group of children’s writers over at GROG (it’s an acronym; go check it out!). Kathy’s a former school librarian and teacher and enjoys the middle grade humor, so I can’t wait to see what she has to say.

And now, t’is back to work for me. Though it’s hardly work when Irish eyes are smilin’.