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!

 

February Wrap Up

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Libs in the office, watching me “work.”

You know, there’s something a tiny bit intimidating about an end-of-the-month wrap up. Or should I say knowing that your end-of-the-month wrap up is coming?

I mean, it’s bad enough if you don’t accomplish much, but blowing off the accountability report is like, Dang, Cathy, how lackadaisical can you get? So I knew the Day of Reckoning was coming and I’m not gonna lie. It motivated me.

The Good:

I read seven books this month! Full Disclosure: Several were short books by Patricia MacLachlan, but a couple of them were longer, the ones by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Both authors will be at the SCBWI Springmingle Conference coming up in a few weeks and I like to read books by people who are presenting. I want to know their style, yes, but I also think it just makes an author happy when you can say you’ve read their books. And really, I don’t think it matters if the author is a New York best-selling author like Mitchard, or a Newbery Award winner like MacLachlan, or a debut author who’s launching her first book. So I read a bunch of books and now–whee!–I’m three books ahead of my Goodreads goal. Which is a good thing as March is looking pretty busy.

I wrote up an article and sent it out and sold it! It could be a while before it’s published, but still. I sent something out into the world and received an acceptance. So yay me!

I also sent my manuscript out into the world (to an indie editor) because I’d come to that proverbial spot between a rock and a hard place. (You can read more about indie editors at The Muffin with my “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Writing Superhero!”) Which leads me to the not-so-good, otherwise known as …

The Bad:

I received the most amazingly detailed and insightful editorial letter re: my latest middle grade manuscript and…I haven’t quite finished digesting all of it. In point of fact, I need to figure out what and how to revise and so far, I’m stuck between thinking and figuring it out. I’m all for letting things sit for a while while you ponder the problems but I just can’t seem to move on to actually…well, writing. Any motivational thoughts from those of you who have found yourself in that No Writer’s Land would be swell.

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Even Libs is wore out with this project!

The Ugly:

I spent a ridiculous number of hours working on an SCBWI project that should’ve taken me about what? Two hours, tops? First, it involved design so I had to remember how to do all that, and second, it involved color printing and my color inkjet ran out on my practice sheets. And then once I finally got everything ready and pushed the Print button, the lovely pages came out completely hinky.

I am still not finished with this project. Ugh.

 

So how about you, dear writer friends? It’s your Day of Reckoning, too, and I’d love to cheer or commiserate, your choice, on this last day of February.

 

Tooting My Horn After All

I’m over at The Muffin today, talking about how hard it is for writers to promote themselves.

Honestly, one of the reasons I like writing for a Korean publisher is that I don’t have to do any marketing. I mean, I guess if I went over to Korea, they’d expect me to do something. But here, even though I live in a community with a vibrant Korean population, it’s too costly to do book signings or other promotions.

For other projects, I’ll run a Tooting My Horn post and that’s a bit of promotion, right? All out marketing is a little more challenging for me because…well, you can read “Writer, Promote Thyself” and see if you struggle with the same promotion anxiety. And maybe share your thoughts on marketing?

201612_bigpulp_annual-793x1225But you know what all this talk about marketing has reminded me of? My story, Mary Beth’s Prophecy, appears in Big Pulp’s annual anthology. For cryin’ out loud, I almost forgot all about it–and I love that fun story! So yeah, why not check it out? Because it’s not just me…there are a TON of wonderful stories from 2016! (There! A bit of promotion for me and all those other writers!)

 

Perfection!

You are looking at the new and improved, highly organized Cathy C. Hall.

Um…let me rephrase that. You are looking at the BLOG of the new and improved, highly organized Cathy C. Hall.

Now, I’ll grant you that the blog, more or less, looks the same. I’ll even admit that on the outside, I more or less look the same. But on the inside…ah, I am a changed woman. A changed writer! And all because of this:

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And this:

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You can be, too. Zip over and read “Accomplish Your 2017 Writing Goals with this Perfect Solution” at the Muffin today.

(And yes, I know saying that I have the perfect solution might sound a wee bit braggy. But I can only work on one character trait at a time. Next year, I’ll tackle humility.)

Magic Ticket? Yes, Please!

ticket-1539705_1920Here’s my horoscope for today:

You’ll influence others, but more importantly, you’ll comply with self-directions. To follow your own instructions is no small deal; in fact, it’s the magic ticket and the key to getting what you want.

Which wouldn’t be so weird if my post, “The Writer’s End-of-the-Year To Do List” with all kinds of instructions, didn’t just happen to be up on the Muffin.

Today.

If the universe went to all that trouble to get my attention, I think it behooves me to tackle that list. And so off I go (and I hope you’ll join me! I mean, it’s not every day that I come up with a magic ticket!)