What’s Up!

Hi, there you are!  Come one in.  Grab your favorite snack and a beverage and spend a few moments learning what I’ve been up to lately.

Sunday Night (May 1, 2011)

Okay, so I was sitting here working on my blog, and I get a call telling me that I need to turn on the television.  The President is about to make a speech about an undisclosed subject.  Like I need the distraction.  As it is, I’m a world-famous procrastinator.  So, I stop what I’m doing and chit-chat with my good friend, who’s like a sister, as we wait for the mysterious announcement.  The news stations are all saying that Osama bin Laden is dead and the US has his body.  What?!  Finally, after about an hour of that, the President finally comes on and confirms the news.  Wow! 

Come back in a day or two and I’ll tell you all about my latest project!

My latest Project (Tuesday, June 21, 2011)

Okay, so I’m working on my next writing venture–a novel.  I’ve got to say that having written a novel in the past and then jumping to short stories, I’m thinking I prefer short story writing.  Not because it’s any easier to do (it’s not), it’s just that the pay off comes quicker.  With longer fiction, I’m finding that I really have to pace myself.  I’ll sit down, thinking that I know what I’m going to say and hours will have passed before I’ve written the first word.  Or I find myself doing what I call the eternal edit.  Although I learned a long time ago not to go back and read what’s already been written, that sage piece of advice seems to have gone in one ear and out the other.

Sometimes you have to go back.  For instance, I was doing research on government buildings in the downtown Cleveland area.  I needed to find out where one goes for information on marriages, deaths, births, etc.  I could picture the building in my mind because I’ve been there several times, but I couldn’t remember which building it was–City Hall or the Court House.  After going back and forth from one Web site to the other, I finally determined that it was the Cuyahoga County Court House.  Having settled that issue, I then had to determine which department was located in the basement (since in the story the main character is said to have “descended the stairs to her basement office.”  I know that there are departments in the basement of  the Court house, but I’m  not sure what they are called.  Whenever I was doing research on my family tree, I would have to go to the basement to get copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, etc.  Since the scene I’m writing is in the 9os and the information I’m finding on the Internet is for the present, what I’m finding is telling me where the departments are located now, not where they were 20 years ago.  The County Web site has those departments as being on the first floor, when I know that I had to walk down the stairs or take the elevator to the basement.  Hmmm . . . looks like I might have to get on the horn and actually talk to a human being about this, provided that’s even possible in this electronic age. 

Now the reason I had to go back and re-read what I’d already written was to change what I’d said initially about the character’s place of employment.  I had her working at City Hall when I should have said the County Court House.  So, I had to go back and change that.  Sure, I could have left it for the first edit, but I don’t trust my gray matter these days.  It was better to correct it while it was fresh in mind.  I also needed to check the male character’s age, which took me in quite another direction.  Oh, how I envy those who can write straight through, mistakes and guffaws be darned!  BTW, if anyone out there is reading this and knows what the departments in the basement of the Court House are called, please post a comment here for me.  I’d appreciate it!

I’m making myself a promise.  Tonight when I get home, I’m going to write for at least 15 minutes straight without getting distracted.  Tall order, I know.  But if I don’t, I’ll never make my deadline.  I’m already 2 months behind as it is.  September will be here before I know it. 

So what’s the novel about?  It’s about who gave her child up for adoption, thinking she was giving her a better life.  Not wanting to lose all contact with her child, she wrote a letter and had it placed in the sealed adoption record in case her child one day wanted to find her.  In the letter, she explains why she gave her up, what she was feeling when she did, and how to contact her if she wanted to meet her.  She also gave a copy of the letter to her lawyer for his files.  In the meantime, the mother gets married and life is going well until she gets a request from the lawyer who handled the adoption, and that’s when the stuff really hits the fan!

I hope to finish the first draft later this year and have it ready for publishing in the Spring of 2012!  Keep your eyes peeled for it.

OMG! (Sat., July 2, 2011)

Just got in from vending at the Ohio Black Expo.  I gotta tell ya, it was experience that I will never forget! This was my first time doing such a large venue, but the traffic was NOTHING like the promoters advertised.  A lot of us vendors had decided to buy a booth based solely on the promotional information put out by the OBE that the event was sure to draw upwards of 100,000 people.  Let me tell you, if 4,000 people walked through those doors in the three days that we were vending, I would be very surprised.  We spent the majority of the time networking with one another. Most of the vendors believe that the lack of attendence was due to poor planning and poor insufficient marketing.

The bright spots in our days were the customers who bought our products. They were happy and excited about their purchases and very supportive and encouraging of what we were trying to do. The people who came to our table (Black Coffee and mine) were enthusiastic and pumped about the books they bought.  Many were looking forward to going home and reading the books right away.  One customer, Jennifer, who is an avid reader plans to read all five her books before bedtime tonight (that’s over 1,200 pages!). Oh, I forgot to mention that Jennifer is a speed reader! More to you, girl!

We met other avid reader readers like Val. Val had a laughing so hard about how tenacious she is about keeping records of the books she loans to family and friends.  She does not play when it comes to her books.  I believe she just might cut you if you disrespected her babies! 🙂 All kidding aside, I know exactly how she feels. 

That was an example of the wonderful people we met, due to the lack of proper marketing and planning. Imagine how many more people we could have met and how much more business we could have generated if things were done better.

In spite of that, I had a great time sharing the table with Black Coffee and learning about the ins and outs of self publishing from her. I’m forever greatful for her generosity in sharing some of her contacts with me! That’s what it’s all about, really: passing on knowledge as you acquire it. We’re all just trying to do what we love–write and connect with readers. Sure, we’d like to sell a book or two along way as well. 🙂  Upcoming children’s author, Clydell Harthorne, shared our space as well, helping me bag the books I sold. I’m looking forward to going to the Atlanta Black Book Expo. in Atlanta on September 17!


3 Responses to What’s Up!

  1. Magnolia Peters says:

    Hi Cathy jo

    I trust retirement is treating you well. I would like to invite you to a some book talks I have coming up…
    June 7, 2014 @ 2pm: Join us for a Book Talk and Release Party for Local “Street Lit” author, C.J Hudson’s novel “Next Door Nympho” and the much awaited sequel “Next Door Nympho 2”! Limited Copies of Next Door Nympho are available for check out, please inquire with Branch Manager. Copies of Next Door Nympho 2 will be available at the party!

    June 2 1, 2014 @ 4:30pm: Local WZAK 93.1 DJ, Sam Slyk will conduct a book talk and lively discussion on his relationship book entitled: “Men Do What Women Allow”

    August 23, 2014 @ 2pm: Local Urban author, Celena Howard will conduct a book talk on her novel “Making Change”. Limited Copies are available for check out, please inquire with Branch Manager. The sequel “Making Change 2 will be available at the event.



    • Cathy Jo says:

      Hi Magnolia! I couldn’t make it to CJ’s book talk, but I plan to be there for Sam Sylk’s book talk! Looking forward to the event. Thanks for the invite!

      • magnolia.peters says:

        Greetings Cathy!

        The last book talk for this season will be Saturday, August 28, 2014 @ 2pm. Local author Celena Howard. I hope you can make it and bring a friend.




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