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

“Whatever pool of possibility stands before you, jump in!”

~Marianne Williamson~

Mom jumped in and submitted a few stories in the past few weeks. We didn’t hear back yet, but things inside the wheels and gears (whatever) of the computer stand no chance at all.

With things out in the world of books, there’s a chance that something will A. be good enough, B. get into the right hands, and C. land in the right place at the right time. If none of those things happen, we are no worse off than before, and Mom will feel like she’s a writer because writers take those chances all the time.

Win or lose, we will smile through and keep on hoping. And jumping.

Mom doesn’t like when I jump from high places. She says it gives her 6 strokes and 4 heart attacks every time. But when she plops me up on top of a rock, it’s awful tempting to make a jump for it.

Ditto when I leap onto a bench. Jumping is fun.

When Mom calls me I will jump and run every time. That is not my fault. It’s what she taught me.

Once on my walk I tried to jump up and catch a bird. I have also jumped up to try and catch a butterfly, a helicopter, and a hot air balloon flying over my house. If (When) it doesn’t happen, I am no worse off than before.

So, win or lose, I smile through and keep on hoping. And jumping.

“Those who don’t jump will never fly”

~Unknown~

 

 

Five Word Friday

This month, Mom is challenging herself to get a story ready to submit somewhere. Our five words are from one of the stories that made the cut as a possibility.

Cloud – When clouds come and cover the sun, they interfere with my street naps.

Mom is always happy when the sun goes behind a cloud because then I get up and start walking. When the sun comes back, I hit the deck again.

Garden – Mom has a whole garden of stories and poems inside her computer. The challenge is to sort through them and pick a good one. Sometimes in a garden, the flowers die off. That happens with stories, too. Mom doesn’t want to submit a dud.

No duds here…

Popped – Last week, I had surgery to remove a bump from my chest. I had a bunch of staples in there to hold the cut together. The vet told Mom not to let me jump around. Mom and I both knew that was just crazy talk. As soon as I got home, I popped up onto the chair and have popped up and down all over the place ever since.

Mom did waste spend $70 on a ramp, but I only use it when she tells me to.

Puddles – I like puddles. Even though I dread bath day – leaving drippy, soapy, sloppy puddles everywhere almost makes it worth the torture.

Sky – Since we live on top of a hill, we look at the sky a lot. I mostly look for sunshine. Mom sees planets, stars, sunrises,

storms,

rainbows,

and sometimes, planets and the space station. Plus we always need a reminder about where we should be reaching.

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are from Mom’s June Challenge story, which she barely finished a couple of days ago. #junechallenge Yes, it’s the middle of July.

16. Bumblebee – Even though Mom is afraid of bees, she wrote a story about one. Sometimes, she tells me a bumblebee is going to sting my face off. I dare you, Bee.

4. Swing – I never miss a chance to show my baby swing picture. Now that I am older and fatter… I mean more dignified (and more stubborn), I will NOT let Mom squish me into the swing anymore. Sometimes you just have to put your paw down.

22. Colors – Mom never plans her stories before she starts writing them. She just jumps in and types and follows the characters, hoping they will grow and change and get more colorful as the plot develops.

Sometimes, she doesn’t plan what I’m going to wear. She just picks random things and puts them on me. Then I end up wearing so many colors, I look like a hobo clown.

It’s not polite to stare…

8. Froze – In the winter, everything around me froze,

This guy…

but I stayed toasty warm.

95. Flowers – Like flowers, story ideas start out as tiny seeds. If they get the right attention, they grow into something awesome. Flowers in my neighborhood look amazing.

Certainly too amazing to harbor bumblebees that will sting my face off. I hope…

Bring it on, Bee.

 

 

“There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now.”

Hugh Laurie

In case Mom’s weekly writing challenge isn’t challenging enough this month, her writing group named LindaVijiConnieLaurieJenandOtherJen is also having a June Challenge. Everybody in the group is working on a new (or old) story and posting new versions each week for everybody to look at and share about. Ready or not!

Mom had a new story already started with 2 pathetic sentences. Two sentences! It sat there and sat there till the challenge. Now it is getting attention and making progress. It’s pretty lame, but it’s getting better.

Speaking of lame- I sniffed this gigantic, weird mushroom outside this weekend. I checked underneath it to see if any sprites or fairies lived there. They do not. It’s just a big, nasty mushroom – serving no purpose.

Mom thinks my street naps serve no purpose, but I say street naps warm me up.

Ditto my sidewalk naps,

grass naps,

and naps under cars.

I think learning new tricks serves no purpose, but Mom says tricks help my tiny brain stay sharp.

I smell Cheerios! How does this thing work?

So I bowl,

play Tic-Tac-Toe,

and ring my bell for cookies.

I guess purpose is relative. In Mom’s stories, her characters have to have purpose. So do their actions. Maybe they should take a street nap…

 

 

 

Five Word Friday

Mom has been writing a story a week with Susanna Hill’s Mix ‘N’ Match Mini Challenge. Today’s five words come from her first three stories.

Ball – I don’t care for the toys named Ball. They have a habit of rolling under the couch and then I have to wait for Mom to finish mumbling and get the yardstick and roll them back out. I prefer stuffed animals. They are much friendlier. Plus sometimes they look a little like me.

Birthday – I am 13. I have celebrated 10 birthdays since I was adopted. UPDATE: IT IS NOT MY ACTUAL BIRTHDAY TILL SEPTEMBER (DARN IT), SO THANK YOU FOR ALL THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES, BUT I WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT BIRTHDAYS IN GENERAL RIGHT HERE. MEANWHILE, IF THERE’S ANYTHING WITH WHIPPED CREAM IN THE FRIDGE, I WOULDN’T MIND SLURPING SOME. JUST SAYING.

Mom and I love birthdays because there is cake. Sometimes there are hats and balloons, but I do NOT love them as much as cake. Because…. cake.

Downpour – In a downpour, I wear my raincoat.

I used to be afraid of the rain, then I was afraid of my raincoat. Now I am afraid of wet grass. And puddles. I am not afraid of mud.

Yay!

Mom writes lots of stories that involve fears of many kinds. I wonder why.

Delicious – Including the five senses is a good way to draw readers into a story. What things look like, feel like, smell like, sound like, and taste like show the audience what is going on in ways they can understand.

I like tasting things – treats, cheese, faces, cookies,

kibbles, chicken, cigar butts, acorns,

the floor, and my paws which may or may not be made of candy.

Dust bunny – FYI – Dust-Bunnies do not look like bunnies at all.

THIS is a bunny!

Around here, they are constructed mostly from my hair. Maybe they should be called Dust-Doggies.

 

“Write like nobody’s watching because – nobody’s watching.”
~Dan Brown~

Nobody is ever watching when Mom works on a story. She watches the words come onto the screen and she tells them to herself out loud and then she plays around with them till they make a story. Nobody’s watching. Except me.

When she finishes her stories, her online critique friends will look at them and tell ideas to make them better. But even they don’t watch. They say what they say and Mom decides what to do in the end. Nobody’s watching. Except me.

All day long and for some of the night, too, I watch.

Sometimes, Mom says I am a creeper or a stalker.

Who? Me?

The truth is – SHE is the creeper. Now that we are quarantined and doing our part to stay home and flatten the curve, Mom has become obsessed with me.

She takes me for walks around the neighborhood,

homeschools me with my IQ Puzzle,

I smell Cheerios!

teaches me tricks,

Knock them down??? But you just put them up!

practices my skills with me,

Face-and-Paw-Bowling. Who needs a bowling ball?

and barely ever gives me a chance to breathe.

I for one will be more than happy when coronavirus goes away and Mom can get back to being busy and I can get back to nobody watching – except me.

Last week was Abe Lincoln’s birthday. He was a pretty smart guy and has many inspiring quotes on his resume. I like this one because preparing for your Big Chance is an important part of getting your Big Chance and taking your Big Chance and appreciating your Big Chance. And making the best of your Big Chance.

Big Chance – Book 1.

While Mom waits for her Big Chance – Book2, she prepares. Her two recent writing challenges helped her prepare with webinars, daily posts, and Facebook entries. They stressed getting ideas, listening and thinking like a writer, and putting her butt in the chair.

Following the writing rules to create a story is important – catchy opening, problem/conflict/goal to be reached, attempts at solving/alleviating/reaching it, increasing tension, success, and a surprise ending with a twist. Breaking the writing rules happens once in a while, too – word count issues, the rule of 3 becoming the rule of 5, extra characters popping up, and not enough conflict. Breaking rules can be cool sometimes.

Rules are for chumps.

But other times, it’s just not OK. Hopefully, when Mom’s chance comes, she will be following the rules or breaking them in a good way.

I smell candy.

I have been preparing for my big chance for many years. I have eaten cigar butts from the gutter,

gotten my head stuck in a take-out bag,

 

and a grocery bag,

and a Macy’s bag,

tasted the floor,

licked cakes during photo shoots,

and once I even swallowed one of Mom’s pills.

All this in preparation for the day I finally get big enough to eat from the garbage pail. #growlegsgrow When my chance comes, I. Will. Be. Ready.

So close…

 

 

 

Happy New-ish Year! 2020 feels like it’s going to be a great year for all of us. So far, it’s been pretty good for me – lots of treats,

a bunch of car rides,

some naps and cuddles,

and a few walks at the park in the cold.

So far, it’s been pretty good for Mom – leftover Christmas gingerbread men,

gift card shopping trips, a few walks at the park in the cold,

and a new writing challenge called Storystorm.

Storystorm lasts only a month. All Mom has to do is get 30 new story ideas during January and boom – the challenge is met. Simple, right?

 

Not always. She’s 3 ideas behind already, but she is hoping to catch up soon.

Mom is trying something new this January for Storystorm. Usually, she reads the Storystorm daily post and types her ideas into her phone. This year she is writing them with a pencil like in the olden days.

She is also drawing a picture for each idea. AND she is using that as an excuse in her head for falling behind. #pathetic

I am not allowed to make excuses. That is fine with me. I embrace ALL of the things I do,

and I act like they’re right whether they’re right or not.

Five Word Friday

It’s official! Mom has finished her 12th first draft of 2019.

Challenge complete. Of course the stories are very new and are nowhere near ready for primetime, but they’re done.

We chose 5 words from this month’s story.

16. Busy – Mom is busy a lot. She can be busy talking to friends, cleaning up, or “working” on her computer. I like to keep busy, too. I can be busy playing with my toys,

begging for food,

or exercising.

What a workout!

Sometimes, we’re busy together at the park

or walking around the neighborhood.

42. Kids – Kids are delicious. Usually they taste like gum or sweat or chicken nuggets. I see kids when Mom takes me to a school visit and when I work at the library.

Read it again!

9. Shoes – Sometimes I love shoes. I lick them, sniff them, and when I was little, I used to carry them around. Other times, I do NOT love shoes.

Embarrassing…

86. Teacher – Mom used to be a teacher.

Now she only has me to teach. She has discovered you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Meanwhile, it’s all on me to learn the stuff. #somuchresponsibility

 

357. Floor – Like kids, floors are also delicious. I like the floor a lot. Mom says, “Don’t lick it.” and “Stop being a weirdo.” and then when she’s cooking and she drops something, she’s all, “Oh, look, Cupcake. Here’s a treat for you. Clean up the floor like a good girl.” #makeupyourmind

What?

 

Mom is a big believer in this. She’s more of a writer than a waiter. Waiter? Wait. What? We need a waiter here…

Bacon and eggs, please.

Anyway, Mom jumps in and writes stuff every chance she gets – almost every day. Almost. Once a story gets into the computer, it’s fair game to be tweaked, tightened, talked through, and sadly – sometimes, tossed. But having a new story is always good, even if it comes to a tragic ending.

The 12×12 Challenge encourages her to write a lot. With a couple of months to go, she is in the middle of a couple of stories that may – for the record – become her November and December drafts. They won’t count if they’re only half finished, though, so she needs to get that faucet turned on and get that water flowing. I hope no puddles are left behind. Once, I almost stepped in a puddle. Almost.

Whoa. Close call…

I am not a fan of water. Bath day is not my idea of fun.

When I’m waiting for my conditioner to work, Mom says, “I don’t like it any more than you do.” and “You will smell so pretty.” and “NO! Don’t jump out of the tub!”

At the park, I like to go as close to the edge of the water as possible. NOT so close that I get my feet wet, though.

Mom says, “Not too close.” and “Stay by me.” and “If you fall in, you’re on your own.” So far, I haven’t fallen in, but as long as the water is flowing

and flying,

there’s always still a chance. #daringdoggie