I’m Baaaaaaaaack!

blur-book-candle-417049Yeah, yeah, I know in Poltergeist II it was “They’re baaaaaaack!” But we’ve hijacked that line and made it into “I’m baaaaaaaack!” in that sing-songy voice which always creeps me out and it’s October so boo, y’all!

The wedding weather was great and everyone in both families is still speaking and I didn’t break anything whilst rocking out on the dance floor so I’m calling that a win for all of us. Three cheers for the happy not to mention beautiful couple! (And P.S. Let’s all agree not to use “envision” for a while, okay? If I heard that word once, I heard it a gazillion times in the last 12 months. And I used to like that word. *sigh*)

So. Where were we? I think I’ve addressed that question for all of us in my timely post over at The Muffin in “October Panic.” Feel free to take a moment or two to give it a read. I think you’ll perk up or at least get a handle on your panic. And then maybe you can share what you’d like to complete before 2018 winds down.

I finished a major revision and I’ll take all my notes from beta readers and work on the next–and I hope final revision–of that manuscript. I’d like to send it out to agent by the end of the year. But I’m also percolating some ideas about a new novel I’m starting with a bit of a different voice for me and I’m excited to think that through and see where it goes.

AND, I’m reading and critiquing a friend’s new cozy mystery that I love and can’t wait to see where it’s going. Isn’t it maddening when you only get a few chapters at a time and you have to wait and wonder?

So I hope you won’t have to wait and wonder too long for the next doings here at Cathy C. Hall but there’s so much going on! And whoOOooOOOOooo knows when I’ll be baaaaaaaaack?

(I kinda love October, y’all. Hope yours is boo-rific, too!)

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End of the Writing Year (Or Holy Smoked Cocktail Wieners, It’s Almost 2014!)

ImageEvery year–EVERY YEAR–New Year’s seems to sneak up on me and whack me upside the head with a “Hey, you! Put down that cocktail wiener and get serious here! What’re you going to do different this year, huh? What about your definable goals, your glorious writing aspirations? Have you got any flippin’ worthwhile thing planned besides trying a different dipping sauce?

And because I’m cleaning/recuperating from all that Christmas cheer (and rather enjoying my little pigs-in-a-blanket), my brain often says, “Pffffft.”

But not this year, friends. This year, I had to come up with a blog post for December 29th over at The Muffin. And so way back in, oh, mid-December, I put my writing thinking cap on and took a few minutes to consider what I’ve learned not to do in 2013.

The way I look at it, I’m halfway there, as far as that whole New Year’s voice whacking me upside the head. And come New Year’s Eve, I’ll figure out a couple definable goals, glorious aspirations, and possibly a couple worthwhile writing things, whilst casually enjoying a cocktail wiener (and a champagne cocktail, too, now that I think about it).

Because, you know, coming up with what to do is way easier, right?

(And may you ring in your 2014 with glorious blessings and much writing joy! Thanks so much for joining me along this journey and let’s do it all over again next year, okay?)

Starting the Writing Year With a Wheee! (And a Muffin Post)

ImageThe first week in a new year is always exciting for me. It’s like opening a brand-spanking new notebook and finding all those blank, crisp pages. Wheeee! Such potential for great things, right?

But then life and reality comes along and before I know it, my potential is sagging, even though I’ve made careful lists of yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.

I do accomplish quite a bit, but it occurred to me after reviewing 2012 that I was perhaps getting too caught up in checking things off the list–while the things I really love get short shrift. And so I knew I needed something different this year, something to shake up my compulsive list-checking while still accomplishing the writing things I need to do.

So I decided to open my mind (and talents). I wrote a post called Just for Today, For Writers over at The Muffin. And I’ve printed it out and slapped it on the board above my desk, to remind myself that if I follow a few simple steps, every day, I’ll accomplish my writing goals and find new adventures and opportunities along the way.

And maybe, just maybe, I can start each day with a Wheee! Such potential for great things!

Never Too Late For A Dream

So, Peter Pan.

I wrote about Oldest Junior Hall and his dream to see Peter Pan, a dream he’d had since he was just a little Peter Pan himself. And lucky him, the show came to The Fox Theater in Atlanta, and luckier him, his mother (that’s me) took him (and his sister) to the show. Childhood dream happily, wonderfully realized. Yay!

But that is not the story here. The story here is Cathy Rigby (who plays Peter Pan).

Honestly, when I saw that Cathy Rigby was playing Peter Pan, I was a little wary. I mean, I’m all for stamping out ageism, and keeping fit, but Cathy Rigby? How old is Cathy Rigby, anyway? I watched her do her gymnastics thing in the Olympics years ago. (I was but a wee, wee child.)

So I looked it up. She’s 59. FIFTY-NINE. Which by itself is no big deal. I know plenty of 59 year olds. But I don’t know any 59 year olds who can walk on their hands, do splits and cartwheels, flip into dozens of somersaults while FLYING, and sing at the same time.

I sat up there in my seat absolutely amazed. The fact that she could remember all her lines was pretty stupendous, but that she still had moves like Gabby Douglas was…I don’t even have a word for it. Inconceivable. That’s what it was: inconceivable. Even Oldest Junior Hall remarked upon it.

Now, Cathy Rigby didn’t leave gymnastics and immediately take up theater. Nope. She taught gymnastics and enjoyed a long career as a sports commentator, embarked on a seven-year stint in intensive theater and voice training, and then hit the boards as Peter Pan in 1990.  Talk about someone going after a dream.

So I watched Cathy and thought how in the world does that woman have the energy to hop all over that stage (and never once fall on her butt)? But I also thought it’s never too late to go after what you want.

What do you want in your writing career? It’s not too late to achieve your dreams–and you don’t need fairy dust, either. Just focus on what you want and the steps that will get you there. Then do it.

 (But I wouldn’t mind a sip of whatever Cathy Rigby’s drinking before those Peter Pan shows.)

Follow, Follow Your Dreams

Do you know the song, “Try to Remember” from the musical The Fantastiks? Jerry Orbach sang it when the show premiered in 1960…

I so love that song (and I kinda love Jerry Orbach, too, may he rest in peace). But I’m sharing “Try to Remember” today because we’re starting a new year.

“Deep in December, it’s nice to remember, although you know the snow will follow…”

(And yes, it’s January, but who can rhyme lyrics with January? Just follow me here, okay?)

“Try to remember when life was so tender, that dreams were kept beside your pillow.”

Did you want to grow up and write wonderful stories? Did you dream that people would read your novels and love ’em the way you loved a favorite book? When I was young and tender, I had those dreams…but I put them away for grown-up life and responsibilities. It was a very long time before I dug under my pillow and pulled those dreams out again.

And now I set goals to achieve those long-ago dreams. But unlike my dreams, my goals are concrete and very specific. For example, I write down “Read 5 books per month,” rather than “Read.” Or “Query highlighted agents in Guide to Literary Agents” rather than “Query.”

Of course, I don’t always accomplish my goals. But then I remember…

“Deep in December, it’s nice to remember, without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”

I pick myself up and start again. Because whatever your dream, it’s worth it.

“Deep in December, our hearts should remember, and follow. Follow, follow.”