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

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

–Fred Rogers–

We think of helpers a lot during the Labor Day season. I mean, they’re around 24/7/365, but they are especially honored at this time of year. Plus lots of them have the day off to relax and recharge. And eat burgers.

Mom and I met a lot of the helpers Mr. Rogers talked about when our car floated away in the storm a couple of months ago. A nearby family invited us into their house to dry off and warm up, some teenagers pushed our soggy car out of the water, the police called for the tow truck to take the car to a safe place, our Uber driver took us home through the storm, and the insurance lady helped us figure out how to get a rental and then a new car. We appreciated all of them and lots more helpers in between.

I’m sure the Hurricane Dorian people down south will be finding the helpers today and for a bunch more days in the future. We are all, always ever-grateful for the helpers.

As a doggie, I appreciate helpers a lot. The vet

and people at Petco keep me happy and healthy with medicines, treats, toys, and neat nails on my paws.

The park and highway workers help me have fun adventures with Mom. And of course, Mom is a helper by holding the end of my leash to keep me safe from cars, big dogs, scary statues, and delicious poisons on the ground which I really want to eat.

Wait. What? Is that Teddy Roosevelt?? Please don’t make me walk near him.

As a writer, Mom appreciates helpers a lot, too. Everywhere she goes she hears, sees, and meets people and pets who give her ideas just by being their own original selves. Her critique group named LindaVijiLauriConnieKellyJenandOtherJen help her see what’s good and what needs work in her stories.

And of course, I am a helper by staring at her and giving my full support. She calls it “creeping her out.” That’s good… Right..?

 

 

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Five Word Friday

Today’s five words come from Mom’s July first draft.

6. Napped – Napping is an important part of being the doggie of a writing mom. Whenever Mom is busy talking to herself… I mean writing something, I nap to kill time.

Whenever she wants to think, we take a walk so I can do napping in the street

or the gutter

and Mom can stand there like a jackass waiting and thinking and waiting and waiting.

22. Rolled – Things roll around in Mom’s head in a jumble of amazing ideas, failed attempts, useless thoughts, wasted effort, and enormous dreams.

My head works differently. There are no ideas, attempts, thoughts, efforts, or dreams. There’s just… well… pretty much nothing in there. All my rolling is done outside my head.

34. Garbage – There’s nothing I don’t love about garbage. It smells good, looks great, and on the luckiest of my lucky days – it tastes delicious. Mom puts yummy things into the garbage – like pizza crusts, stale cake, and watermelon rinds. Such a waste.

Sometimes, Mom writes garbage. Also, such a waste. But it’s part of the process.

7. Car – I love the car.

It takes me to all my favorite places

Yay!

and a few of my less favorite places.

*gulp*

Last month when our old car floated away in a flood,

 

Still dripping after two days…

we had to get a new one.

It still takes me to all the fun and less fun places, but we’re going to try not to float away in this one.

5. Tougher – A few years ago, when I got my tail caught in the door,

Mom said, “You’re tougher than you look.” and “I could think of better ways to spend $2500.00.”

and “I’d write about this, but I don’t write HORROR STORIES!

 

Regret is not when you could not finish what you started, but regret is when you do not start what you could have finished.

~Apoorve Dubey~

Mom says, “We’re finished here” a lot. Mostly to me. She says it when I tippy-toe along the curb instead of walking in the grass like a normal dog.

She says it when I nap in the gutter.

Or the street.

And sometimes “we’re finished here” when it’s time to make the bed.

To me, things are never really finished. They’re just “done for now.”

Mom’s monthly 12×12 Challenge stories are not really finished either. I mean they have a beginning, middle, and ending, but the month ends and the stories still have a long way to go.

First drafts are like that. They’re just “done for now.”

Part of Mom’s challenge is also to revise a story a month. Revising a manuscript means that after the story has slept in the computer undisturbed for a while, Mom opens it up and says, “Ugh. This stinks.” and “There are some good bones here, but it needs work.” and “Get up, lazy bones.”

So, let’s drink to starting whether you’re ready or not, finishing what you start, and living life with no regrets…

…and plenty of naps and treats and an occasional lick of cake batter.

 

 

 

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today we’re celebrating five words from Mom’s June story. Truth be told, the story isn’t finished yet, but we grabbed five words anyway. We’re sure it’ll be finished in six more days… Wait. What? SIX MORE DAYS??!!?? Blerg.

16. Turkeys – My turkey toy is one of my favorite shaking toys. When I get it going just right, the turkey kicks me in the head over and over. *sigh* Good times

72. Blankets – I love blankets. Whether I am on them, in them, under them, or near them, they make me happy.



Mom is happy when she is on the ball, in the zone, under a deadline, or near the surprise ending. She’s all of those things right about now.

4. Music – Mom taught me to dance so I could make people laugh when we go to work at the VA and the library. I don’t even need music! Just chicken…

#dancetillyoureblurry

88. Storybooks – Writing storybooks is Mom’s favorite hobby. She always wishes she can get another book or eBook published. But no matter what happens, she writes them anyway. She can’t help it. When I do therapy work at the library, kids read storybooks to me.

Even if the books are about cats, I listen politely to them anyway.

649. Selfie – Last week was National Selfie Day. Taking a selfie is tough for me because… well… paws. Thank goodness Mom helps me so I can be like the cool kids.

#nofilter #iwokeuplikethis

 

 

“Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing at the airport waiting for a train.”

~unknown~

When you have to write a story a month, there is no time to wait – for a train, a plane, or an inspiration! Mom is 28 words into her June story for the 12×12 Challenge. OK. It’s not 228 or 428, but 28 is a start. Plus she is busy Mind Writing.

Whenever we are out walking she Mind Writes about her main character, his goals, his issues, his problem, and how she will increase tension and take the story where it needs to go. Also, when we are out walking – while she’s Mind Writing – she watches me like a hawk. She says, “Don’t eat from the ground.” and “Don’t go near the edge or you’ll fall in.”

and “Oh, $#%@! Not another street nap!” But of course it is.

It always is…

Mom’s June idea came from her list of Storystorm ideas.

It’s an old one, but caught her eye, got her thinking, and surprised her a little. It’s fun when that happens.

At the park, a duck caught my eye. I watched it swimming. Then it surprised me a little. It wasn’t even a duck. It was a cormorant! It dove deep, swam a long time, made a hundred splashes, came up with a fish in its mouth, and ATE IT in one gulp!

Not the actual cormorant.

Truth be told, I didn’t know whether to be happy for the cormorant, sad for the fish, or sorry for myself because once Mom shared her tuna sandwich with me, but it didn’t look like that was about to happen at all.

Not the actual tuna sandwich.

I’m glad I wasn’t standing at the airport waiting for a train when all that cormorant excitement happened. I think I’ll wait at the kitchen counter for some tuna now. Can’t hurt…

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words come from Mom’s April 12×12 story.

17. Mother – We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday. I am not allowed to go shopping, so I gave Mom kisses and cuddles instead of a gift.

I also put my bony head on her arm for a while. She said, “Patooie. Dog spit.” and “Ouch. I think my arm is paralyzed.” and “I love you, Cupcake, but please get off me!”

98. Skinny – When Mom first found me at the rescue named Purrs and Pups I was kind of skinny. Plus kind of naughty and kind of nervous with lots of bite marks on my head and some bugs in my belly. Mom had a lot to work on.

My Gotcha Day.

She fixed me up, just like she fixes up some of her stories that have bugs in their belly.

33. Dolls – I like to play with dolls. They’re actually more like stuffed (or unstuffed) animals, but I like them better than bones or tennis balls. I cuddle with them

and act like they’re my babies.

Plus sometimes I try to hatch them like eggs.

2. Running – I do running a lot. It’s for protection. Moving target and all that… Mom says, “These floors don’t stand a chance.” and “This is why we can’t have nice things.” And then she calls me the name of Psycho Crackpot.

 

146. Hiding – When running doesn’t work, I do hiding.

Stranger danger!

It also keeps me safe from scary things.

Mom is not hiding from her 12×12 Challenge this month. She started a new story for May and even though it’s not quite halfway through the month, she’s halfway through the story.

 

 

“The bad news is time flies.
The good news is you’re the pilot.”

~Michael Altshuler~

Time flies A LOT when you’re a doggie. You wait for Mom to come home.

You wait for somebody to play with you.

You wait for friends to come by.

You wait to get chased out of bed.

I’m not the pilot of ANYTHING around here. I’m mostly waiting. And watching time fly by.

Mom has been writing a picture book a month for her 12×12 Challenge. She nailed it in January, February, and March. Here we are halfway through April and so far, she hasn’t written a book or an opening sentence or a word or even a letter.

Mom has not been the pilot of anything around here. She is mostly waiting. And watching time fly by, just like me.

She promises herself that she will get busy tomorrow. She will not just get busy being busy, she’ll get busy being productive! She will jump into the cockpit and fly.

I might jump into the cockpit,

but I have a feeling time will still fly by me while I wait for something fun to happen…

Mom will scan her idea list, pick an idea or two, decide on some characters and a setting, and for sure START WRITING. Tomorrow. First drafts are allowed to stink, so yay. She’s on it.

I will wait and maybe get to the park or Petco or the dog park.

Or maybe I will just play by myself for a while.