Living with a children's author isn't as easy as it looks!

Posts tagged ‘children’s literature’

Author Visits

Mom has two author visits coming up. One this week and one next week. Both are call-backs, so she kind of knows what to expect. One thing she expects is fun! Rejection is the downside of writing. School visits are the upside AND her most favorite thing about being an author. Bar none.

school visit

Fifth graders and college students make for very different visits, which means Mom will pack up her school visit stuff  TWICE. I love when Mom packs up her bag.

bookbag2

Sometimes there are candies in there. Or gum. Or tissues.  And sometimes stuffed toys, depending on where she’s visiting. I ALWAYS check the bag out, just in case.

bookbag

Once I found (and ran with) a smaller bag from inside the bigger bag. It had a fork, a beanie baby, a paintbrush, and a baseball inside. Mom said, “I need them for a game.” and “You wouldn’t understand.” and “Eeeewww. They’re slimy with dog spit!”

gamebag2

Although I love the bag, I hate the leaving. Why does every upside need a downside? When Mom says, “I have to go,” I hear the word GO and head for the door.

Ready!

Ready!

She says, “Not this time.” and “I’ll be back in a little while.” and “Do you want a treat?” which is EXACTLY what I want. And that’s how the downside becomes the upside again.

milkbone toothbrush

 

Almost…

April-Calendar-2014-PDF

Spring is almost here. I mean it’s here on the calendar, but in real life, not so much. Mom and I look for flowers outside, but we’re not seeing a whole lot.

daffodil1

Almost there…not quite…

The grass is still kind of brownish and slime-ish in spots. And the wind still turns my ears upside down.

daffodil4

Also, the rain has Mom bringing out my raincoat every couple of days. April showers and all that….

rainy

Real, actual spring – street nap spring – takes longer to happen, I guess.

street rest

Chilly tummy.

Stories take longer than expected sometimes, too. The calendar says we’re 10 days into the month, but we’re not seeing much of Mom’s April manuscript. The idea is still brownish and slime-ish, and wind and rain in Mom’s head are slowing down the progress. Her ears aren’t upside down or anything, but I’m hearing an awful lot of “Here we go.” and not an awful lot of, “Yay. I’m finished.”

I think the rain wetting the soil and the wind flying the seeds all around are putting down the groundwork for the real season.

This is definitely a sign of spring...

This is definitely a sign of spring…

Like the rain and the wind, mind-writing and planning are putting down the groundwork for Mom’s story. The daffodils are starting to pop. I hope Mom’s story will pop soon, too.

daffodils bloom

 

 

Countdown Wednesday

Today, Mom and I are counting down about advice.

Advice I Get

3. Be Quiet – Mom says this word when the mailman comes. Ditto the FedEx and UPS guys. She clearly does not know these people are here to kill me. I must sound the alarm.

2. Don’t pull – Mom tells me this word when I am smelling delicious things outside, and checking my pee-mail. She clearly does not know that if I don’t quickly eat the goose candies in the grass, one of my dog friends might get them and I will miss out.

muddy

1. Fetch it – It took me a long time to understand this advice. I finally learned what it means. For any of my friends struggling with fetching, the secret to it is the bring-back. Do not get the ball, bring it on the couch, and try to hatch it like an egg.

fetch

Nailed it. Wait. What??

That is apparently not fetching. Bring it back to Mom and GET A TREAT. That’s fetching.

Advice Mom Gets

3. Add Conflict – People don’t like conflict. Especially Mom. But in a story, conflict is good. So are suspense, action, problems, unexpected obstacles, surprises, and other kinds of trouble. I like trouble.

broken barrel

I don’t think the monkey will pop out of the barrel and laugh at me anymore…. RIP laughing monkey.

2. Find Your Voice – Each time she starts a new story (at least once a month), Mom has to find her picture book voice. Voice helps the book sound unique and different from other books. Voice shows Mom’s characters looking at the world in their own special way.

shadow

1. Focus on Character – Mom usually writes stories that are plot, plot, plot. Lately, she is trying to take the advice she’s received about developing character, character, character. Susanna Hill’s Picture Book Magic class helped her a lot with that. Now Mom can get to know her characters before they start living in her story.

sunshine-award

 

Speaking of living, two of my bloggy friends gave me the Sunshine Award, recently. I think it’s the perfect time of year for this award, since the snow is finally gone, and any minute now, the sun will shine and I will take a street nap.

street nap

A big, sunny thank you to Collies of the Meadow and The Squeak Life for sharing this prize with me. If you feel like you need a smile, visit them. They’re a guaranteed giggle. And if you want to celebrate the sunshine, take this award and post it to your own blog.

Hidden

Spring is finally coming. Things that have been hidden under the snow are coming back. Look! It’s a coffee cup!

dd cup

Mom’s new story was hidden under the snow in her brain. Every single day, when she started working on it, she gave it a new title, made a list of new characters, decided on a new theme, and gave them new goals to accomplish, new problems to solve, and different obstacles to overcome.

confusion

It’s a good thing spring is coming. Mom’s hidden story is coming back. It’s her third day working with the same title, the same theme, the same characters, and they have the same goals, problems, and obstacles as they had yesterday.

writing2

I think spring has sprung….

Look! It’s a banana!

peel

I wonder if the black bananas taste better than the yellow ones….

And a ginger ale bottle.

gingerale

And my beehive is back from under the snow!!

hive

Hello, old friend…

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.

-Bruce Garrabrandt-

Moments matter – Every single one of them. I try to use each one wisely.

Climbing.

climb

Kissing.

kissing vic

Exploring.

explore

Eating.

cupcakeeating

Playing.

teddybear playing

And helping.

photo 2

This past weekend we lost 60 moments of sleep for daylight savings. Well, the humans did. I got those moments back in spades 60 times over.

sleeping

Mom uses one hour of moments each day for work. And by work I mean she sits there and types on the computer and talks out loud to herself. Sometimes the Creativity visits her during that hour. I love visitors. I’m not sure I’ve ever met the Creativity Visitor, though. Maybe tomorrow…..

waiting

If the Creativity doesn’t visit at that exact work time, Mom still works. Each month, she makes a new story and fixes up an old story (or two or three) for her 12×12 Challenge. She also reads books about writing books, and reads books like the books she writes. Wait. What?

books1

Writing time is not for blogs, not for Facebook, not for email, not for Words With Friends, and not even for TV.

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It’s just working on stories in one way or another – writing them, reading them, fixing them, thinking about them, submitting them to agents and publishers, and giving me cuddles and treats…. (See what I did there?) If the Creativity doesn’t come – Oh well. Maybe tomorrow…..

We’ll be ready.

waiting2

Best Doctor Ever

photo 1

Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would’ve been 109 years old. He is the Best Doctor Ever on account of no needles, no looking into ears with a flashlight, no sticks stuck into forbidden places, and no touching of my bits and pieces.

Waiting for the doctor...

Waiting for the Doctor. Hoping for the Best.

Mom also loves Dr. Seuss for a million other reasons – his wild imagination, his silly rhyming, his crazy stories, and the fact that his first book was rejected 27 times before anybody said they liked it. Misery loves company.

rejected

Mom’s #1 favorite Dr. Seuss book is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins from 1938.

500 hats

Normally, Mom and I steer clear of anything that smacks of numbers, but counting those hats is so much fun and so suspenseful that we can’t resist it. Also, a hundred years ago, Mom’s 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Nelson read that story to her class and Mom and her friends giggled and counted and were afraid for poor little Bartholomew not being able to take his hat off for the king.

500 hats2

As of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Mom is up to date on her 12×12 Challenge. She has written 2 new stories in the past 2 months. Now it’s a new month and time to start a new story.

photo22

In which direction should she go?

Direction? Up, of course.

King of the Hill of Filth

King of the Hill of Filth

What will be original?

Original? It doesn’t get any more original than an old dog learning a new trick.

333

Who will step out of her list of character ideas?

Character? This one.

44

Or this one.

4

Or this one.

devil

How will she make the story sparkle?

Sparkle? With a tiara, of course.

Am I sparkling, yet?

Am I sparkling, yet?

Stuck and Waiting or Stuck but Moving

Sometimes stories get stuck. Mom likes the rule of three, so if there are only two good obstacles in her story, she can be Stuck-and-Waiting for one more good idea. Her other choice is to use an obstacle that isn’t her favorite and worry about it later. Then she is Stuck-but-Moving.

123

If a character turns boring halfway through the story, Mom can be Stuck-and-Waiting. A story that is Stuck-and-Waiting can die a miserable death. Her other choice is to go back to her character sketch and add some flaws, quirks, oddities, and traits to bump that character up. Even if he or she isn’t perfect, Mom can go back to work and worry about it later. Then she is Stuck-but-Moving.

jump for joy

When I come inside, I need to get the rock salt (and snow and mud) cleaned off my feet with a baby wipe. Sometimes, I am Stuck-and-Waiting.

photo 2

Wipe my feet, please….

When the snow is really deep (and touching my belly *shiver*) my legs can’t reach solid ground. Mom says, “I am not carrying you anymore.” So I get busy – Stuck-but-Moving.

Inside a snow bank, there could be something fun like a ball or something yummy like a piece of bread that the birds dropped. There’s one way to find out - drill my nose in as far as I can. Then I am Stuck-and-Searching. That’s my favorite way to be!

photo 1

Five Word Friday

5 cards

Today’s five words are about being happy.

1. King of the Hill – I am happy when I am King of the Hill. Even though the hill is sometimes made of black plow-snow mixed with ice. And stones. And dirt.

photo 2

2. Great Story Idea – Mom is happy when she gets a great story idea in her head. At first a new idea is all white and fluffy and has unlimited possibilities.

snow 63

3. Beehive – I was happy when enough snow melted so I could see the broken piece of beehive that fell out of the tree a few months ago.

hive

I TASTED it! Mom said the word, “Oh no you didn’t!” But oh yes, I did.

hive2

Is she watching me?

4. Brand New Story – Mom is happy when she sits down to start writing a brand new story about her brand new idea. Still white, still fluffy, and still filled with unlimited possibilities.

white

5. On top – I am happy walking on top of a foot of snow covered by a few inches of ice. As long as I stay on top, the snow can’t touch my belly. *shiver* But sometimes, I end up holding on for dear life  with my tiny chicken-feet so I don’t slide into the street.

photo 3

26. Holding On –  After Mom works on her story for a while, she feels like she’s holding on for dear life with chicken-feet trying to get to the end and making sure the story isn’t a computer full of nonsense. She is happy when she finishes, though, and sometimes it’s nonsense and sometimes it’s not. But either way, it’s finished.

end

71. Cutting out nonsense - After the end of the story, Mom has to revise. That does not make her happy, but it has to be done. It helps cut out some of the nonsense and makes the story better. Just do it, Mom. Don’t look back.

photo 1

I’m King of the …… *gulp*

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.
Vaclav Havel

steps

Mom’s Highlights Contest story is finished resting, and thanks to her Contest Magic classmates giving her tons of help, she revised it –  AGAIN – cutting and adding and switching and tightening and tweaking (not twerking – trust me – nobody wants to see that).

 Yesterday, we went to the mailbox

mail

and Mom unceremoniously dropped it in. She said, “I could work on this thing for the rest of my life.” and “It’s time to stop staring up the steps and step up the stairs.” and “Where do you think you’re going?”

steps2

Mom is hoping to win big, but she is also hoping for her cyberclassmates to win big right along with her. She said, “Their stories are amazing.” and “Can I even compete with these people?” and “There’s nothing up there for you.”

Is she talking to me??

Is she talking to me??

Countdown Wednesday

caneldar

Today, Mom and I are counting down about rest.

What I Know About Rest

3. I nap in my bed.

photo 1

2. I nap on the couch.

photo 2

…a lot.

photo 4

16. I nap in the street. (But only in the summer.)

street nap2

1. I nap on Mom’s bed. I am allowed on her bed when she says the word, “OK” and then we sleep there all night long.

photo 10

Who turned out the lights?

I am not allowed on there when she makes the bed, or when she is sorting out her folders and paperwork for her college job.

photo 3

Who? Me?

What Mom Knows About Rest

3. Waking up super-early in the morning, lazing in bed, drinking tea is a perfect, restful start to the day.

photo 11

2. After a story is finished it needs to rest. No working on it, no looking at it, no THINKING about it.

photo 20

Sometimes, a story needs to rest for a week. Sometimes longer.

calendar

1. While a story is asleep, it’s difficult to wait for it to finish resting. It’s good to start mind-writing a new story right away. (And all new stories should be about me!)

swing

26. When stories wake up from resting, they sometimes stink.

photo 30

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