Thursday, January 26, 2012

Squealing Until the Cows Come Home

What IS that Noise?
This week has certainly very squeal-tastic for me. Gosh I’m not sure what order to put them all in. I think it all started with Anne’s blog last Sunday, snowballed over to Mark’s announcement (which I read twice once on MWi and once on Sapphicscribe), and tumbled into a snowman with Saffina’s Musings and The Stone Church News.

·         Two Sunday’s ago I entered a contest on Anne R.Allen’s Blog to win a sighed copy of “Walter’s Purple Heart” or a signed copy of “Pay it Forward” both by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This weekend I discovered that I’d won “Walter’s Purple Heart”. OMG SQUEE! This squeal lasted the longest as I not only did so in my responding e-mail to Catherine, but also in instant messaging to Charley, on Charlie’s post to my facebook wall, in an e-mail to Charley (I hope her eardrums are okay) and finally on Anne’s Blog where she announced the winner.

·         Both Mark’s Blog and Saffina’s Author Blog announced what’s going on with MWiDP. I was so excited I wrote a poem for a comment, because, OMG their publishing venture looks super sweet. So sweet that I’m tempted to ditch the whole query process and just go Indie with them. But that’s not the only thing that made be squeal. I’m also squealing because I can’t wait until “St. Malroy’s Forever!” is published by MWiDP . Which my favorite peeps Miriam and Charley are helping to write!

·         A couple weeks ago Saffina stated she was “Banningthe Bull” on her personal blog. I took a deep breath and offered to give her an excerpt from what, I hope, will be my premier novel. In her most recent blog post she mentioned me as being “adorably excitable”, along with the fact that I’ll be first of her Illuminating Indies series, January 28th, 2012! SQUEEEEE I’m chewing my nails right now as I await my hubby’s review of what it going to be posted.

·         On the smaller scale, I wrote an episode for my church’s newsletter, but hadn’t hear a word as to wither or not it would be included. Lo and behold I received my copy of The Stone Church News,January/February 2012 issue and found it; one whole glorious page (no. 14) dedicated to my story! *giggles* On Sunday, one of the parishioner said he liked it and asked if I was a writer. I very proudly stated – Yes, though I’m not published yet, but I’m working on it. I also got two thumbs up from our priest as passed by my Sunday School class, though that could have been about anything!

So there you have it. I’m squealing yet again just writing and posting this list. It’s been an exciting week! Gosh if you could just see the jitters in my hands. Yup, I’m totally feeling adorably excitable now, even if my hubby might not like the phrase so much. (But you know what, sometimes it fits him too. *wink*)

:} Cathryn Leigh

P.S. You may also have noticed I've tweeked my look and started to add pages. Exciting huh! :}

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reading to Memory Lane

Today I think I’ll talk a little bit about what I’ve been reading. I’ve been doing very well with that goal actually, and I think I could read more than one novel a month, but I think it’s best, for the time being, to stick to that rate. I’d hate to kick up my addiction and lose all my time to it. Still having the Kindle is nice. I can get a little bit of reading done anywhere, like when waiting for the hubby to pick me up from work. But I am digressing.

The novel I read this month was A Storm Hits Valparaiso by David Gaughran. It is an epic tale of South America’s struggle for freedom as told from seven perspectives. He starts with a barmaid in Valparaiso and then takes us back and forth across the Atlantic. It was fun trying to figure out who would cross paths with who. Sometimes the moment was brief and other times the paths became interwove. It ends, full circle, with the barmaid, returned to Valparaiso. War, no matter what kind, changes everything and David captures that well in this book.

Now, I bought this book because I’d found David Gaughran’s blog in my gathering of places to find information about publishing a book. In addition, South America fascinates me. My father was born in Paraguay to missionary parents and he first came to USA when he was 15. So, despite the fact he carries a very American name, he’s Hispanic. My step-mother is from Columbia. I don’t know of anyone with a bigger family. She has nine older siblings and how many nieces nephews who have kids too I don’t know, but they all seem to keep in touch.

Memorial to Simon Bolivia
in Santa Marta Colombia
I was very fortunate, in that, when I was 16, I got to visit both countries. We went to a family reunion of sort for my step-mom for New Years. Quite the change from the cold New England climate I came from. We even spent a day at Simon Bolivia’s memorial. Then that summer we returned, this time to go to Paraguay and visit my Abuela y Abuelo who’d returned to where my dad grew up to visit the church they’d founded. We even skipped over to Brazil to see the Iguassu falls.

Iguassu Falls, from the Brazilian Side
I could probably write a post or two just about those trips, complete with the pictures I took. At least I know I have pictures of Paraguay; there's one of the falls that rivals the professional ones. Of course I’d have to find the photographs first, and if I couldn't find them I'd have to ask my step-mother if I could borrow hers, at least until I got them all scanned. Those were the days before before digital cameras. At least, before affordable personal digital cameras were available.  

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Am I Worthy?

Last week I mentioned something about having Guest Posts on my blog. Well apparently, the time was right as my two good friends Charley and Miriam immediately volunteered. Of course they won’t do it for free, but at least it’s only words they are asking me to write in return. So look for Charley and Miriam to appear here and in exchange I’ll appear on their blogs.

In addition, on Monday, Saffina Desforges had a facebook status looking for un-published author’s who wouldn’t mind showcasing their work on her blog. I volunteered. I must have been the first response because she e-mailed back saying if I got something to her by January 25th, I’d be the first. That’s a “Yikes!” and “Oh My Gooses” all at once. I wasn’t sure I had anything worthy, but thanks to Charley and Miriam , I have a good candidate, if my revising doesn’t then make it unworthy. *grin*

"We're not worthy" - Wayne's World

And since we are talking about guest blogging, I must mention Mark Williams. After I got my Kindle for Christmas, he kindly gave me two books, with my promise to do a review. He said if it was fairly lengthy and in depth he might consider posting it to his blog. I don’t know if I can write a review worthy of that but I’ll give it my best shot. The least I can do is post a condensed version to Amazon. I ought to be worthy enough to do that.

So am I worthy?

Yes, I am and you can be too. You just have to work hard, believe in yourself, and have a few cheerleaders to remind you that you got what it takes.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stepping Towards the Stars

So last week I talked about my dream goal. But you can’t just stop at dreaming. It would be nice if we could, though. Life would be so much easier, but as most of know life isn’t easy and it’s going to throw up road blocks of all sorts. So to obtain that dream goal you have to keep working towards it. In my case, I’m taking what I consider baby steps.


These baby steps are my goals for this year and I’ve tried to make them SMART. That means they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Or at least I’ve tried to make them that way. Let me give you some examples of what I’ve created.

Example 1: They say that part of being a good author is to read, read, read, so I’ve created a goal around this.
  • Read at least one novel a month
  • Read at least one short story a week
So by the end of the year I expect to have read 12 Novels and 52 short stories. That seems pretty specific and measurable. Is it attainable? I think so. I’ve already read my short story for the week and I’m currently working on that first Novel. As far as realistic and timely goes, well you have to remember I’m responsible for the feeding and clothing of my family, plus my own writing, so I think it is.

Example 2: the other part of being an author is to write, write, write. Needless to say I have a couple goals around that. I’ll show you the one related to The Phoenix of Vervell Trilogy
  • Complete the editing and posting of Phoenix Triumphant (February)
  • Complete the “Massive Revision” of Sarah’s Phoenix to align it with Phoenix Rising and Phoenix Triumphant (August)
  • Send Sarah’s Phoenix out for critique and beta reading (September)
I’ve made these as specific and measurable are as I could. I haven’t been through the editing process enough to know how to measure revisions, but I suspect I’ll know when I’m done. Sending it out will be the easy part to measure. Again they are as attainable, realistic and timely, as I can make them. I gave myself an extra month on editing Phoenix Triumphant, just in case life throws some curveballs at me.

I also have some goals related to this Blog. The first is to continue weekly postings and the second to turn it into an Author Blog. The first is getting harder as I struggle  for topics each week. The second entails changing the name, and probably other stuff that I'm not entirely sure of. I do have a few ideas though. Some are more specific to this year than others.
  • 30 days of World Building – Starting on April 11th, I’d lead you through the exercises as I flush out my own for NaNoWriMo 2012
  • Setting a topic for each blog post such as: First of the month is a book review, last of the month is a goal review.
  • Inviting some guests over to blog (yes Charley and Miriam I’m looking at you)
  • Finding a book on writing with lots of exercises that we can do together. (could be one a month?)
I want to tie into my fellow writers as well as my readers without having to maintain two blogs (or a website), so please, let me know your ideas, comments and questions you have on how to make my blog better. Believe me I’d appreciate it.

:} Cathryn Leigh