Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Sunshine Blogger Award – An Opportunity to get to know Cathy Cade a little more.


This is the final post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar and self-publishing tutorials. I thought that now you have been introduced to Cathy we might find out more about her in this post, where she was awarded the Sunshine Blogger Award.

I was surprised and delighted to be nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Many thanks to Lily Pierce of  Retrospective Lily , which was one of the first blogs I discovered on my blogging journey. I never fail to be inspired by her positive attitude. The blogging tips are helpful too for us beginners.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is peer recognition for bloggers who inspire with positive, creative and motivational content.

Each nominee answers the interview-type questions set by their nominator and passes on the compliment to eleven of their favourite bloggers, setting eleven new questions for them to answer.
Sunshine Blogger Award

My answers to Lily’s questions…

1. Why did you start blogging?

Writing gurus recommend that wannabe writers build up a web presence before publishing anything. I prevaricated, having nothing to publish as yet. The catalyst for me was joining a local writing group, where I found myself line-editing for our first self-published anthology (plug alert: Where the Wild Winds Blow by the Whittlesey Wordsmiths).

Since I’d forgotten most of what I learned (it’s an age thing…) from a proofreading course I took in early retirement, my editing required research, which I shared with the group as blog posts.

To my surprise, I enjoyed writing these, and interacting with other bloggers.

2. What is your favorite blog post you’ve written and why?

That’s a difficult one. I’m enjoying the current Novice Self-publishing posts, partly because it’s helping me organise my thoughts before I get to grips with the next writing group anthology (A Following Wind, in case you’re interested). I’m also helping a member of the group to prepare a manuscript for publication, and this seems a good way to reprise what we’ve covered.

The post that affected me most was Leaving Us. I wrote it after our youngest dog died suddenly. There’s nothing in it to enlighten or entertain the reader, but writing it was cathartic. I later changed the whole thing into present tense (it was written in narrative), which was something of an experiment for me. I was never a fan of present tense in fiction, but it seemed to fit this post. I’m now more likely to consider this as an option when writing, so the post turned out to be instructive as well as therapeutic – if only to me.

3. How long do you edit or agonize over a post before you press “publish”?

I’m getting better about this, but however many times I re-read it, I’ll find more to change in the Preview screen, and maybe again after I’ve published. The worst case was when I published my post on apostrophes and found a grocer’s apostrophe in the emailed post – which had gone out to my followers.

Since then I put a break in my posts – when I remember – so the emails only contain the first paragraph or so .

4. Writers’ personalities are often different than their writing portrays. How would you describe your personality?

Tentative?

I hope that, as my confidence improves, I’m coming across as more like me, but I’m not sure I know who “me” is.

5. What is your favorite social media platform and why ?

I only use Facebook. It’s less foreign to me as I’ve used it to keep in touch with my family. Messenger is an instant way to communicate without phoning at inconvenient times, and it seems to get their attention quicker than text messages.

I finally got around to putting up a Facebook Page recently, but I keep posting on my normal account by mistake. Since my Followers are currently people I know anyway this is not yet a problem (note to self: must interact with more writers).

I did sign up to Twitter but life’s too short. Why spend all that effort thinking up bon mots for something that will disappear later today (and nobody will see anyway unless I build up an audience).

I signed up to Instagram and Pinterest but I rarely go there. WordPress takes as much time as I can spare. When would I find time to write?

6. If you are willing to share your social media links/handles, what are they?

https://fb.me/cathycade.wordsmith. That’s it really.

I also post on Commaful at https://commaful.com/play/cathycade/. I enjoy playing with the pictures.

7. What tools do you use to “beef up” your blog?

All suggestions gratefully received.

I use free pics from Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash and still have some credit left on Shutterstock from when I self-published The Year Before Christmas last year. (Free pics aren’t high enough resolution for a print publication). I downloaded Gimp around then (a free open source image editor). One day I will read the manual and learn how to use it properly for more than resizing.

I’m just getting into Canva, and there’s one video that I made on Flexclip, which was fun. I may try more of those.

8. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from blogging?

To stop prevaricating and get on with it. The world doesn’t end when I get it wrong. It’s been heartening to find how supportive the blogosphere is in general.

9. What advice would you give to a prospective/new blogger?

Visit other blogs and add your comments (it took me too long to start doing this). It builds your confidence and supports your fellow-blogger..

The blogging gurus will tell you to post frequently, but I have unsubscribed from several blogs because I got fed up with finding their posts in my inbox several times a day. If you are posting often, make sure it’s something people want to read.

Have patience. Building readership can be a slow process but, hey… who’s counting?.

10. Have you ever been nominated for and/or won other blogging awards?

No – this has been a lovely surprise. It’s validation that someone’s reading my ramblings. It doesn’t feel as if I’ve been blogging for long. (When I look at my list of posts there seem more than I remember writing.)

11. Are you satisfied with your blog’s progress?

Is anyone ever satisfied? I’m not in a hurry though; I’m not selling anything (yet). It’s all a learning curve.

And there is still a life to be lived offline, when I can find the time.

©Cathy Cade

Cathy published a book late last year and it would make a great gift for the younger members of the family – never too early to buy books for Christmas (there.. I have mentioned the C word!).

About The Year Before Christmas

Emmie the Elf, works hard, running errands and sweeping out reindeer stalls, but Santa’s newest helper still finds herself grounded on Christmas Eve. Can Emmie prove she’s capable of higher things in time for next Christmas

A review for the book

A lovely story, well written and illustrated.
An ideal read book to read with young children.

Available in print: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

About Cathy Cade

After a career in libraries, I began writing in retirement and have had stories published by Scribble and Flash Fiction Magazine, and in the anthologies To Hull and Back Short Stories 2018 and Where the Wild Winds Blow from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. My verse The Year Before Christmas, recounting the story of Emmie the elf, is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

I hope to publish a collection of my short stories later in 2019. Watch this space.

I live in the Cambridgeshire Fens most of the time, surrounded by flat but ever-changing fields. At other times I live across a garden fence from London’s historic Epping Forest.
please share

Connect to Cathy

Website: https://cathy-cade.com
Facebook: https://fb.me/cathycade.wordsmith.

Thanks to Cathy for permitting me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over there to discover more for yourselves.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Poetry #Humour – Fred’s Legacy by Cathy Cade.


This is the third post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar tutorials. I have a feeling you will enjoy this post as much as I did.

camper alexandra-nicolae-456070-unsplash

Fred’s Legacy by Cathy Cade.

We bought a pre-loved camper-van.
We’d travelled up by train.
The owner’s dog had crept inside
and wouldn’t come out again.

The lady planned to emigrate.
She’d shown us both around,
watched carefully by Algernon,
an indeterminate hound.

Embarrassed, she said, ‘Take him too.
‘He won’t cost much to feed.
‘He can’t come when I emigrate.
‘So… shall I get his lead?’

When Jim and I, and Algernon
(with dog bed, lead and trough)
were halfway down the A1(M),
the camper-van took off!

Jim fought it through the back roads
till it stopped outside a pub.
We all leapt out. One bystander
gave Algie’s ears a rub.
.
He said, ‘That’s Fred’s dog – and his bus!
‘Fred died in that there ’van.
‘’Twere camped on t’moors.
Two days it were before they found the man.’

Tears in his eyes, he told of Fred
and faithful Algernon.
‘He barked, and barked, till someone came.
Fred’s daughter took him on.’
.
Now, spooked and fearful, off we went
but Jim mistook the track.
A cloud of starlings formed an arrow
pointing our way back.

The engine gently coughed as we
approached a petrol bay.
Jim hadn’t noticed fuel was low.
The next was miles away.

The light was fading when, at home,
I raised my evening drink.
‘Thanks, Fred, for looking after us.’
I’ll swear, one headlight winked.

camper wink nick-baker-98364-unsplash

Fred’s Legacy and Together are two of my contributions
to the anthology our writing group has just published.

Titled Where the Wild Winds Blow, it is a motley collection of writing in response to the monthly challenges set for our reading group, celebrating the many ways different imaginations will interpret the same challenge.

Available on Amazon

Contributions from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths include fact and fiction, humour and darkness, verse and worse.

Contributing authors:
Valerie Chapman, Caroline Cowan, Philip Cumberland, Jan Cunningham, Valerie Fish, Wendy Fletcher, Teresa Gilbertson, George Holmes, Stephen Oliver, Tessa Thompson – and me, Cathy Cade.
Cover photograph by Philip Cumberland

©Cathy Cade 2018

Cathy published a book late last year and it would make a great gift for the younger members of the family – never too early to buy books for Christmas (there.. I have mentioned the C word!).

About The Year Before Christmas

Emmie the Elf, works hard, running errands and sweeping out reindeer stalls, but Santa’s newest helper still finds herself grounded on Christmas Eve. Can Emmie prove she’s capable of higher things in time for next Christmas

A review for the book

A lovely story, well written and illustrated.
An ideal read book to read with young children.

Available in print: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

About Cathy Cade

After a career in libraries, I began writing in retirement and have had stories published by Scribble and Flash Fiction Magazine, and in the anthologies To Hull and Back Short Stories 2018 and Where the Wild Winds Blow from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. My verse The Year Before Christmas, recounting the story of Emmie the elf, is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

I hope to publish a collection of my short stories later in 2019. Watch this space.

I live in the Cambridgeshire Fens most of the time, surrounded by flat but ever-changing fields. At other times I live across a garden fence from London’s historic Epping Forest.
please share

Connect to Cathy

Website: https://cathy-cade.com
Facebook: https://fb.me/cathycade.wordsmith.

Thanks to Cathy for permitting me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over there to discover more for yourselves.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Puzzling It Out 2018 by Cathy Cade.


This is the second post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar tutorials. This week I have selected a post that is close to my own heart. Distractions….I love Codewords….and also online solitaire, which I have been playing for over 20 years.

Puzzling It Out 2018 by Cathy Cade.

I confess to being a puzzle addict.

I started with codeword-type logic puzzles until I discovered sudoku and its variants.

Since I retired, I tackle anything that looks interesting: puzzles I would previously have dismissed as too challenging and time-wasting.

Guess what? They weren’t as demanding as I’d thought.

Learning to write has brought similar experiences. At first, I was ambivalent about spending time on practice exercises or writing group assignments that took me away from whatever story I was working on.

Now I know better.

I’ve found that polishing an unpromising pebble of a topic can turn it into a little gem. (I have yet to produce any diamonds.)

My confidence is improving. Each time, the task is less daunting, the writing freer, and the polishing a little easier.

I don’t have so much time for puzzles since I started writing.

For the last week or so I haven’t had much time for blog writing either, so here’s something I made earlier…

Puzzling it out

When my school reports said, ‘Could do better if tried,’
I was miffed, ’cos I’d done all the homework required.
Back then, crosswords were boring and WordSearch was worse.
But those Codeword-type puzzles – they captured me first.
No questions involved to mislead or confuse,
no anagrams, numbers or puzzling clues.

Then, with husband, and children, and gainful employment,
I had no free time for such trivial enjoyment.
Not with meals to be cooked and house-work overdue,
weekend laundry, and ironing, and shopping to do…

Till the morning I picked up a free daily rag
when the book I’d been reading was not in my bag.
I’d a seat on the train and there wasn’t much news,
and the schoolboy beside me was rattling through
the Sudoku on page twenty-eight. I’d not tried ’em.
Not numbers – since school I could never abide ’em.

How hard could it be? So I read the instructions.
Just logic, deduction, and no calculations.
The two-star was easier by far than it looked.
We pulled into my station – by then I was hooked.

So, from there, in my lunch break the five-star I’d savour,
and pick up some more with the evening’s free paper.
Then – one lunchtime – that dunderhead from Personnel
flashed a Killer Sudoku. It sounded a bell
when he said, ‘I like these,’ with a smug kind of look.
I thought – if he could do them… and bought a whole book.

At home, as the children grew up and moved on,
I’d more time in the evenings with all of them gone.
New puzzles – like Gogen – appeared now and then.
I ignored number crosswords but mastered KenKen.

In retirement, with no work to tax my mind much,
I tackled Kakuro, cross-numbers and such.
Though it’s true, even with the solutions to hand,
cryptic crosswords are often hard to understand.

I once thought them too hard so I didn’t even try.
What might I have achieved if I’d aimed for the sky?

I need to get out more, my children have said,
Go cycling, or walking, or swimming instead.
For, what use is an exercised mind, keen and taut,
if entombed in a body that’s ground to a halt?

©Cathy Cade 2018

What is your favourite time-waster?

Cathy published a book late last year and it would make a great gift for the younger members of the family – never too early to buy books for Christmas (there.. I have mentioned the C word!).

About The Year Before Christmas

Emmie the Elf, works hard, running errands and sweeping out reindeer stalls, but Santa’s newest helper still finds herself grounded on Christmas Eve. Can Emmie prove she’s capable of higher things in time for next Christmas

A review for the book

A lovely story, well written and illustrated.
An ideal read book to read with young children.

Available in print: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

About Cathy Cade

After a career in libraries, I began writing in retirement and have had stories published by Scribble and Flash Fiction Magazine, and in the anthologies To Hull and Back Short Stories 2018 and Where the Wild Winds Blow from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. My verse The Year Before Christmas, recounting the story of Emmie the elf, is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

I hope to publish a collection of my short stories later in 2019. Watch this space.

I live in the Cambridgeshire Fens most of the time, surrounded by flat but ever-changing fields. At other times I live across a garden fence from London’s historic Epping Forest.
please share

Connect to Cathy

Website: https://cathy-cade.com
Facebook: https://fb.me/cathycade.wordsmith.

Thanks to Cathy for permitting me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over there to discover more for yourselves.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #NewWriters – Swimming with Sharks 2018 by Cathy Cade


This is the first post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar tutorials, but  this week I have selected an early post about her writing journey.

We often seek other’s opinions on our writing but it can be very daunting putting it out there on a site and invite criticism.

 Swimming with Sharks by Cathy Cade

I spent a lot of time searching blogs and support websites for advice when I began writing my ‘practice novel’. (Of course, I didn’t realise back then it was a practice novel.) It was daunting to discover how much I had to learn, but reassuring to find I wasn’t alone in trying to swim before I could doggy-paddle.

By the time I came across the concept of the practice novel, I had put my finished first draft to one side while I tried my hand at short story writing, but I needed some impartial feedback. I didn’t have confidence to look for a local writers’ group and actually read my work to people I would have to meet again.

pexels-feedback533425

Scribophile was the first online writing community I came across (other online writing communities are available).

Scribophile is US-based, but attracts English-speaking members from around the world, including many in the UK. Members gain karma points by critiquing others’ work and spend their karma on posting their own writing.

Watching

I joined Scribophile, aiming to lurk on the sidelines while I gathered my courage.

Reading others’ critiques was an education in itself.

Not that I’d compare others’ opinions with my own – in fact, I came to realise how little I was taking from what I read. Before Scribophile, I didn’t understand how different one reader’s interpretation can be from another’s, and I learned why I should form my own opinion before reading the critiques of others.

Dipping a toe

The website pressed me to contribute sooner than I’d intended. But some of the critiques seemed little more than proof-reading; I could do that – couldn’t I?

Feeling like the blind leading the short-sighted, I proof-read someone’s work, and wasn’t ejected from the site.

Next time, I was bold enough to add comments – even a suggestion.

Jumping in

I posted my own work and the sky didn’t fall. Yes – there was criticism, but nobody suggested I take up knitting.

Swimming

I looked up the credentials of my critiquers – I won’t call them critics as this would give a false impression of the helpful comments people had taken time to offer. I read some of their work, which I wouldn’t otherwise have read, as they were different from my usual preferred reading.

One wrote in a stripped-down, Raymond Carver style (a shark?). It was he who had suggested my prose was flowery.

Another reader, who composed poetry, had advocated more description (an angelfish?).

Both made valid points. But I now had more context to help in my application of their feedback.

I soon discovered my habit of beginning each sentence with a double-space marked me as a typewriter dinosaur, although my informants never actually said as much. Tact is another useful skill honed in reading groups.

Some members were so anxious not to offend that their critiques read like mutual appreciation scripts. They taught me to be more appreciative of my honest critics, and braver with my own critiques – which is a challenge when you can’t use smiles or body language to soften the words.

Into the ocean

Having shared my scribblings, my confidence improved and I wanted more. I signed up to a writing workshop and began to enter competitions. (Sometimes these offer basic feedback for a small payment.)

Competitions are the main reason I now spend less time on Scribophile – and there are only so many hours in a day, even in retirement.

Competitions generally stipulate that entries have not been previously published – which includes online publication. Although only members can sign in to Scribophile and read the stories there, the competition judge may be a member, so check with the organisers before sharing your entry with an online community for feedback.

Shoaling

I have now joined a local U3A (University of the Third Age) creative writing group . None of us are high fliers, but our monthly ‘homework’ has encouraged me to tackle themes and formats I might would otherwise have avoided. And it makes me work to a deadline.

We plan to publish a collection of these later in the year – more about that nearer the time.

You can find Scribophile at http://www.scribophile.com but don’t do what I did and join the first web-group you find. An online search will find other writing communities and there is sure to be one that feels right for you.

Does anyone have other recommendations for a nervous beginner seeking feedback? I’d love to hear from you.

©Cathy Cade 2018

Cathy published a book late last year and it would make a great gift for the younger members of the family – never too early to buy books for Christmas (there.. I have mentioned the C word!).

About The Year Before Christmas

Emmie the Elf, works hard, running errands and sweeping out reindeer stalls, but Santa’s newest helper still finds herself grounded on Christmas Eve. Can Emmie prove she’s capable of higher things in time for next Christmas

A review for the book

A lovely story, well written and illustrated.
An ideal read book to read with young children.

Available in print: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

The book is available on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/910095

About Cathy Cade

After a career in libraries, I began writing in retirement and have had stories published by Scribble and Flash Fiction Magazine, and in the anthologies To Hull and Back Short Stories 2018 and Where the Wild Winds Blow from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. My verse The Year Before Christmas, recounting the story of Emmie the elf, is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

I hope to publish a collection of my short stories later in 2019. Watch this space.

I live in the Cambridgeshire Fens most of the time, surrounded by flat but ever-changing fields. At other times I live across a garden fence from London’s historic Epping Forest.
please share

Connect to Cathy

Website: https://cathy-cade.com
Facebook: https://fb.me/cathycade.wordsmith.

Thanks to Cathy for permitting me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over there to discover more for yourselves.. thanks Sally.