Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

Bleeding Out September 18, 2011

Wow, so I just entered another amazing contest hosted by agent Janet Reid. If you hurry, you can get your entry in (contest ends tomorrow). I’ve entered just about all her 100-word contests (I’ve received a few mentions, too – yay) – and each time, I learn something new, hone my craft a bit more, get another kick in my pants to keep at this…

But this one…it almost hurt to enter. It sure as hell hurt to write the poem (and not only because I’ve never written a poem, least not since childhood). This one hit close. It came from a place I prefer to keep contained. A place that is still sutured and bandaged, lest I bleed out. As I hit send on that email, I had to tell myself, “what the hell have you got to lose, Catherine?” Still, there’s something about opening yourself like that. Again, I’m not really talking about entering the contest, but writing something that is so much a part of you, that when you send it out…something of you goes, too. Maybe it will be a bit of the pain…that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

My point – they say write what you know. Yes, and write what you feel. Write what you are most afraid of, what you most try to blank out of your mind. That event or thing or fear that gives you the cold sweats, the shivers and that gut-wrenching, twisting pain that only comes when you are at your most ill.

Now, I have to go count my blessings. Three of them are sitting on the sofa, watching a movie, and waiting for me.



Working with Lisa Again! August 22, 2011

Filed under: Editing,Life — justwritecat @ 10:30 pm

Thrilled….simply thrilled. I start working again with mega-editor, Lisa Rector-Maass, next month. I’ve taken all her input to heart, majorly revised (sure, it’s a word) my manuscript and am ready to take one more walk-through of Set ‘Em Up, Joe.

I’m so ashamed of the first manuscript I sent out…egads, how bad it was….so bad I should probably send a bottle of single malt to the agents who read it. At least the ones who offered to re-read once it was revised.¬† ūüôā Course, I didn’t realize how much work my manuscript needed until getting comments back from agents. And after working with Lisa the first go-round.

Without a doubt, the journey thus far has been amazing. I’ve learned a great deal about the craft of writing, yes….but also on how to be a writer. How to allow yourself to be vulnerable. To ‘go there’ in your writing. The first time around I didn’t want anything (too) bad to happen to my characters. Especially not Joe. After working with Lisa, I realized that conflict—in it’s many forms—is what drives a story. My characters must grow, and to do that – they also have to hurt.

This is gonna happen, folks. It has to.




Plugging Away… June 13, 2011

I’ve been remiss. I’ve let my writing take second chair. Well, second chair (or first, for that matter) isn’t taken – it’s given. So the burden of responsibility rests solely on my shoulders. Oh, I’ve been writing – mainly for local magazines and blogs – but I consider that something other than “working on my novels”.

I could point to a couple of external factors – problems due to the concussion I received two years ago (just started therapy for that, finally) or my recent involvement in my son’s PTSA¬† (funny how when you’re cell deep in your novel, you almost forget you have a real, live family). And the editor I worked with is on hiatus until the fall. I love that word, hiatus. Sounds like something requiring surgery. I had my hiatus removed, so the doc said I can’t lift anything over twenty pounds.

So, I’ve been plugging away at my manuscript (the wonderous third draft you hear so much about), trying to apply what I learned working with said (amazing) editor to the other 300 pages. I will state this: my first fifty are solid! Um, I think.

Here are my goals for the summer Рfinish my revision. attend the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference , prepare for the  International Surrey Writers Conference (both manuscript and confidence-wise), lose ten pounds (nothing to do with writing, but still a worthwhile goal. On second thought, make that an even twenty).

And how, pray tell, do you plan to spend your summer? I’ll ask another way – what writing goals have you set? Please share!



Getting Back in the (Writing) Game… December 21, 2010

Filed under: Baby Steps, Baby Steps,Freelance,Write — justwritecat @ 12:38 am

Oh my goodness, I cannot believe it’s been a full month since I last posted on this blog. Shame on me. And, I apologize.

I started focusing more on my freelance writing – initially out of necessity, then because I found it helped my craft. Freelance took off, which was both good and not-so-good. Good because bringing in an income doing something you love is always good, plus I’m writing outsize my non-fiction comfort zone…which means I might do the same when working on my novels. Not-so-good because I’ve put my fiction writing on the back burner. My hope is that I kind find that balance again in 2011. I managed to balance out my time up until recently — last month — when we received some financially devastating news. So, I had to put more energy to writing that brought in an income.

I am incredibly grateful for those freelance writing opportunities. Not only for the monetary reward, but because the work is pushing me to grow as a writer.¬† Plus, I’m learning about things I never thought about before — and I’m taking down notes on ways to incorporate those newsy bits in my novels.

Some time ago I asked how I could make this blog more helpful. Of course posting more consistently is a given – sorry, again. But I thought I’d focus on ways writers can branch out…either in the genres they write¬†or by giving serious thought to writing ‘for the other side’ – nonfiction. So, here’s the first post on Freelance Writing.

I’m going to divide this by freelance writing for print vs web content — because there are differences (and I’m doing both, though only starting on the web content opportunities). My first freelance gig came by way of another blog I write for a local magazine. Back in the spring, they were looking for someone to blog a few times a month on various topics. I applied, the editor liked this blog and my writing style, and gave me the chance.¬† I had the freedom to write on a variety of issues – mainly my experiences as a mom in Vancouver, WA (it’s a family magazine). A few months later, I asked if I could query her with some article ideas.¬† She said yes, I did – and my first print article came out.

Now, I don’t know if having an article published in a magazine¬†makes me an author or not – I’ve heard yays and nays, but it sure does give one confidence. I’ve written a few more pieces for the magazine – Vancouver Family Magazine – and now for other local magazines and newspapers. I sent my first query to a national magazine last month.

I love writing for the local magazines because I can write about what I now – what I experience living daily¬†in this part of the country. And you can establish great relationships with editors of local magazines. They live in your community,¬† you see them out and about, they seem incredibly approachable (magazines more than newspaper editors) — if you not yet confident enough as a writer (are we ever???), local editors tend to take the time to provide suggestions for article topics or insider tips. I think of the editor at Vancouver Family Magazine as more a mentor — and I don’t know if that happens when you’re looking for guidance/feedback on your novel (until you have an agent).

So, those are my thoughts on starting local if you’re thinking about branching out to freelance writing. Next post – differences between writing for magazines and newspapers.

Happy Writing!


Keeping Track of Your Submissions November 26, 2010

Now, I just love that title…keeping track of your submissions. How many times have you submitted today??? Okay – on with the post…

I recently blogged about freelance writing over at Inky Fresh Press. If you read any of the articles, I hope they were of help!

I thought I’d mention the submission tracking tool I use for my freelance writing. It’s not too fancy – which is fine as it’s easy to use, does what I need, and is free. Here’s the link: http://www.spacejock.com/Sonar3.html

Basically you can use this software to keep track of freelance markets (magazines, newspapers, etc.), as well as all of the articles you submit/write. When I first started using it – oh, around three months ago – I wasn’t sure I needed any kind of tracking tool at all. I figured I’d be fortunate enough to get an article or two out there, and could easily keep track of those.

Well, I’m super thrilled to report that as of this morning – I had definite use of the Sonar 3. As I was about to request 2011 editorial calendars from a couple of magazines…I realized I might have already done so. I checked my handy submission tool – and yep, I’d recently emailed one of the magazines. See – without that good old Sonar…I would’ve bothered an editor with a duplicate request. It’s never, never good to bother an editor.

The main reason I’m happy I had to rely on the tool – it meant I had enough queries out and articles accepted that solid organization was in order. That’s good news!

So – check it out. Again, it’s basic in appearance but really does meet your needs. At least when starting out as a freelance writer.


Freelance Writing Guest Post, II November 22, 2010

Filed under: Freelance,Writing — justwritecat @ 8:43 pm

My second post on freelance writing is up at Inky Fresh Press!¬† Please check it out –

Happy Writing –



Miss Snark’s Bakers Dozen Auction November 12, 2010

Filed under: Agents,Query,Social Media,Writing Contests — justwritecat @ 3:34 am

You do know about the incredibly cool Baker’s Dozen auction over at Miss Snark’s First Victim, don’t you? How this gal finds the time to put such things together is beyond me, but she does – and we (writers) are the better for it. Hop over to her blog for the details, then take a look at the list below for a ‘cheat sheet’ on the agents, authors and editor participating in the contest. Even if you don’t enter (or win), you can use the list when researching agents to query. Um, you do research agents that might prove a good fit, right? Because sending out queries willy-nilly wouldn’t be the best way to go…

Please note – the info below is based on what I found on the web/agent blogs/agency websites. Always check for the most up-to-date info before querying an agent. If you click on the name of the agency, you will get an ‘about agent’ page with genre, interests, etc.

And…many of the talented individuals listed below are also into social media. I didn’t list facebook or twitter accounts, because well – that seemed sort of ‘stalkerish’.



Ammi-Joan PaquetteРagent with EMLA 

Interviews on Cynsations and Guide to Literary Agents

Danielle Chiotti – agent with Upstart Crow (how can you not love the name of the agency??)

Interviews – World Hustler and Guide to Literary Agents

Josh Getzler Рagent with Russell & Volkening  

Interviews – Guide to Literary Agents

Kate McKean Рagent with Howard Morhaim Agency  

Interviews – Guide to Literary Agents

Kathleen Ortiz Рagent with Lowenstein Associates  

Her Website: http://www.kathleenortiz.com/ 

Laura BradfordBradford Literary Agency

Interviews – Guide to Literary Agents

Lauren MacLeod – agent with The Strothman Agency

Interviews: http://www.strothmanagency.com/articles/2010/july/lauren-macleod-interviewed-galleycat

Guide to Literary Agents 

Melissa Jeglinski – agent with The Knight Agency

Interviews: http://www.ninc.com/blog/index.php/archives/meet-agent-melissa-jeglinski

Women on Writing

Michelle Wolfsonhttp://www.wolfsonliterary.com/

Interviews: http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/2009/09/q-with-michelle-wolfson-super-agent.html

Sarah LaPolla – agent with Curtis Brown
Her blog – Big Glass Cases

Interviews –¬†MotherWrites and Guide to Literary Agents

Suzie Townsend – agent with Fine Print Literary Management

Blog: http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/

Interviews: http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/2010/03/agent-spotlight-suzie-townsend.html
Tina Wexler – agent with ICM

Interviews: http://algonkianconferences.com/agent-TinaWexler.htm



Weronika Janczuk – agent with D4EO Literary

 Blog: http://www.weronikajanczuk.com/

Genres She Reps http://www.weronikajanczuk.com/p/agent.html

Other Helpful Links http://www.weronikajanczuk.com/p/what-i-read.html Рsome books she likes and what she’d love to see, by genre (I thought this was incredibly helpful of her to offer)



Stacy Whitman

Her blog: http://slwhitman.livejournal.com/

Interview: http://nathaliemvondo.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/interview-editor-stacy-whitman-of-tu-publishing/


Holly Bodger http://hollybodger.com/

Jodi Meadows http://www.jodimeadows.com/Home.html

Beth Revis http://www.bethrevis.com/

(notice how the authors above ALL have blogs? Hmm….)