Yes, It’s About Grammar (And, Yes, You Need This Little Lesson)

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Libby does NOT care even a little bit, but as she is a dog, I’m gonna give her a pass on the grammar lesson.

Every once in a while, I just can’t take it anymore. And by “it”, I mean all those words used incorrectly that pop up in the newspaper or across social media or even out of the mouths of candidates in their TV commercials.

Oy.

Thank goodness, I have the means in which to right the writing world. And so when I have one of those moments when I just want to scream like a crazy woman, “NO! It’s not effect, it’s affect! Affect! Affect!“, I can sit myself down and mostly rationally expound on “Two Little Words Used Incorrectly.”

If you know the difference between the use of “affect” and “effect”, then you can save yourself a few minutes and go on your merry way, patting yourself on the back. But if you are scratching your head and wondering, “Hmmm. Do I know the difference between those two words?”, then please do yourself (and me) a favor and give it a read. Because honestly, y’all, I really can’t take it anymore.

 

 

May is for Magic

pexels-photo-127053It’s no secret that I’ve had a spot of trouble this past year, getting my writing going. But I think I may have wandered back to the joy of words, the thrill of creating. I think that I may have found my mojo again.

Which is not to say that I’ve suddenly written up a dozen manuscripts or sold a handful of others. That’s not what mojo is about, friends. It’s about magic.

The kind of magic that happens when a batter is on a roll, seeing everything good that crosses the plate. Or when a lawyer keeps winning case after case against all odds, or even when a mom has one of those days when the kids are happy, everything in the house is working smoothly, and at the end of the day, pizza–that’s still hot when it gets to the table!

Mojo. It’s a wonderful thing when you have it in your life. So if you want to know how I got mine back–and how you can get yours back, too, in whatever you’re pursuing–then zip over to the Muffin and read all about it in “Getting Your Mojo Back.” 

And P.S. May all my Mom friends– in whatever way, shape, or form that takes for you– have a wonderful and mojo-filled Mother’s Day!

 

The Road to You-Know-Where

pexels-photo (2)I had all sorts of good intentions here, but first, I feel like a mini-rant is in order. And it goes sort of like this:

Why does technology have to constantly change? I mean, I no sooner figure out something with…well, off the top of my head, we’ll just say WordPress…when WordPress up and changes things and I have to figure it out all over again.

But I don’t have to pick only on WordPress. It could just as easily be Google Docs or Blogger or my email or my fancy-schmancy phone. I’m all for progress, but honestly, there are days when I feel that there’s a guy (or a girl, no need to be sexist in this rant) sitting at a computer somewhere saying, “Oh, look, there’s Cathy C. Hall thinking she has quite the handle on things. Let’s just tweak this here and see what she does!”

Ugh.

Anyway, here’s hoping all had a very happy Easter! I was chin deep in singing for a couple of days so I completely forgot to let y’all know about my recycling ideas over at The Muffin in my post, “Come on, Writers, R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, Recycle!” (And P.S. you do not want to miss that song from Rocko’s Modern Life!)

And I wanted to share about a funny book I’m reading but that would require extra skills that I haven’t quite figured out yet, and so to that guy (or girl) sitting at her computer, tweaking random bits of technology to annoy Cathy C. Hall, I’m ready to let you know what I’ll do.

I’m taking a nap.

I Have a Really Good Excuse

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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).

Cathy-on-a-Stick Makes a Comeback

So I could tell you all about the amazing bits of writer wisdom I sucked up from all the amazing speakers at the SCBWI conference I just attended.

Or I could direct you to the Muffin where I expounded on some of my best “After the Conference” tips and advice (and I’d love to hear yours, too).

But what I really want to dish about is this pic:

Mitchard and MacLachlan

And yes, that IS the New York Times best-selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard AND the Newbery award winner (for Sara Plain and Tall) Patricial MacLachlan. And yes, that’s Cathy-on-a-Stick right in the middle of ’em.

First, let me just say this: if you ever have an opportunity to hear either of these women, you must go. And I mean, run, don’t walk, to whatever venue they’re appearing. Because both of these glorious women–authors, moms, business persons–are simply two of the smartest, wittiest, warmest and honest women I’ve ever met.

And here’s the conversation we had about Cathy-on-a-Stick after they signed my books:

Me: Can I get a picture of y’all with Cathy-on-a-Stick?

PM (who is nearly blind so could not see details of what I was holding): What is that?

JM takes C-o-a-S.

Me: It’s just a picture of me, on a stick.

PM: Well, that’s stupid. (Or did she say silly? Ridiculous? It doesn’t matter. It was clear she thought it was stupid. And I had to agree with her. )

JM. No, it’s not. I think it’s pretty clever. (Or did she say cute? Whichever, it was clear she thought Cathy-on-a-Stick was funny. And I agree with that as well.)

PM shrugs. I tell her that Jane Yolen had the same reaction but she was a good sport about it. PM does not seem too impressed but she was not going to let Jane Yolen one up her.

JM: Take the picture!

And so now I have this wonderful picture and I laugh every time I look at it, thinking of Patricia MacLachlan dissing Cathy-on-a-Stick and Jacquelyn Mitchard coming to my pic-on-a-stick’s defense.

Oh my word, I do so love an SCBWI writer’s conference!