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

Five Word Friday

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Today’s five words are about reading. Writers do reading all the time – out loud, in their heads, on the Kindle, at the library, on the iPad…. ALL the time.

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Dogs do not.

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Push me!

 1. Picture Books – Mom reads 200 picture books a year. There’s usually a pile of library picture books on the piano bench at home and a pile of bookstore picture books on Mom’s table at Barnes and Noble.

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2. Goodreads – Mom keeps track of the books she reads on her Goodreads Challenge.

2015 goodreads3. Drooling – Drooling on the books is “not cool.” But how can I help it? They smell delicious! …Like kids’ hands. And dirt. And gum.

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4. Writer’s Eye – When Mom reads, she tries to do it with a writer’s eye. She pays attention to what works, how it works, and why it works. She also notices what stinks, what’s boring, what’s dumb, what’s a waste of time, and what makes no sense. She hopes it’ll help her be a better writer.

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5. Studying – Yesterday, I studied some reading, which said the word, “No Barking.”

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I was exhausted from reading so hard, so I parked myself on the street for a quick nap. Mom said, “I guess you just can’t read. Can you?”

Well, I'm not barking. Am I?

Of course I can read – I’m not barking. Am I?

 

 

There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

~Garth Stein~

Writers cannot be afraid to lose. Rejection is part of the game plan. Rejections happen so that a writer’s work can improve. Rejections are also the path to finding the right home for a piece of writing. Rejection = wrong home. Acceptance = right home. (That goes for shelter dogs too! Just sayin’.)

My first day at my forever home.

My first day at my forever home.

Mom is not afraid. I mean, yes – she’s afraid of bugs. And spiders. And the dark. And germs. And Chinese restaurants (long story). And earthworms (don’t ask). But when it comes to being an author, NOTHING scares her.

Last week, she did a different kind of author visit. She was a guest at Disability Awareness Day. She talked to over 200 kids – a group at a time – at her table.

table

They also touched the pages of Mom’s book in Braille, typed their names into the iPad to see how they look in Braille, solved puzzles, tested their sense of touch with the objects in Mom’s Touch Box , and walked with their eyes closed using the cane to feel their way around.

Type your name at Braillebug.

Type your name at BrailleBug.

Mom signed books for a bunch of kids, teachers, and parents.

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It was a LOT of fun. Plus a LOT of talking, so Mom needed some tea with honey and a few gingersnaps when she got home. And yes – she shared a gingersnap with me!

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Last month, Mom tried to take me hiking. Talk about a losing proposition. The trail we tried was icy, muddy, overgrown, and STEEP. But did that scare us away? ….Yes!

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…But not for long. Today we tried again – on a different trail.

log dog

It was sunny, well-marked, flat, clear, and wide. We didn’t win any races, but we are in the game. And not afraid to lose.

Hitchhiker butterfly - also in the game....

GAH! Hitchhiker butterfly – also in the game….

New

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This is new. In case you don’t recognize it, it’s called sunshine. On my belly. And my face. And my bits and pieces.

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This is new, too. It’s a new treat for me to try. I only got a little piece (and no raisins!), but oooh it was yummy. It’s a hot cross bun – it was not hot and Mom ate the cross, but I got a hunk of the bun. Awesome.

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Yes, please…

Here I am “working” with some old friends at the Veteran’s Home.

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But I was really teaching someone new. A new friend will be joining Mom and me at work there soon. I was showing her the ropes. I can’t wait to work with the new therapy pet team!

Mom is doing something new this week, too. It’s a different kind of school visit. Usually, she reads her book and talks about being a writer.

school visit

But since her book is about a blind boy in a sighted classroom, this week, she’ll be attending an event called Disability Awareness Day.

Book #1

She’ll play games and talk to small groups of kids and help them understand how to be a friend to all kinds of differently-abled people.

Mom said, “This will be fun.” and “I love a new experience.” and “BEHAVE while I’m gone!”

trouble1

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…. Don’t I always?

All of her supplies are packed up and ready to go.

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She named them Keep-Away and Do-Not-Touch. I call them…

foundabear

Hey-Wait-a-Minute-There’s-a-Teddy-Bear-in-Here!

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Countdown Wednesday

calendar

Today, we are counting down about Unexpected Surprises

Unexpected Surprises for Mom

3. Rejection – Two of Mom’s stories were rejected last week. They have been rejected before, so why is it unexpected? For some reason, Mom is ALWAYS surprised when she gets a rejection. That’s because she only sends out things she really likes and has really worked on for a long time – by herself and with other people. And she only sends them to places and people who seem to like work like hers. Oh well.

Surprise!

Surprise!

2. Snow – The first day of spring brought snow. Twelve hours of it. It was gloppy and wet, but snow nevertheless.

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1. What if…? – Stories need unexpected surprises to keep the reader off balance. One good way to decide on a twist is to ask the question, “What if…?” and make up crazy scenarios to throw a monkey wrench into the story. Monkey wrenches are good. Monkey toys are good, too.

monkey toy

Unexpected Surprises for Me

3. Snow – I wore my paw boots in the surprise snow. Mom said, “Hold still.” and, “Put your foot in.”

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and “This is the LAST TIME we’re putting these on till next winter! …I hope.”

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2. Gifts from the plow guys – When the snow started to melt, surprises came out of the snow plow mountains – candy wrappers, tissues, cigarette butts, dirt clods, and water bottles… all kinds of goodies! Thanks snow plow guys!

snow surprises

72. Street Nap – I was halfway to my first street nap of the season, but Mom stopped me. She said the word, “Don’t you dare.” and “It’s 25 degrees! The ground is freezing!” and “The wind is blowing your ear upside down.”

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1. New clothes – Mom surprised me with a new spring dress from Fetch Dog Fashions. I think orange is my color.

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I think Pebbles Flintstone is my look. And tutu skirts are my style.

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No surprise there….

 

 

 

Waiting and Waiting

Waiting is tough. It’s one more tough thing in my life along with the treat famine when I gain weight,

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the mailman trying to kill me, and being afraid to walk past scary things like pumpkins, the UPS truck, and the always deadly, frightening coffee lid in the street.

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Waiting is brutal. Here I am waiting for my turn to listen to a story at Read to a Pet Night at the library…

Am I next?

Am I next?

…waiting for Mom to carry me so I don’t have to walk in my paw boots , and…

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…waiting for Mom to come home.

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Mom entered a couple of stories in the Rate Your Story Writing Contest.

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She also sent a story to an agent who showed interest in it during #PitMad on Twitter. Now she is waiting for results. For her the waiting is fun and exciting. She says, “Once you do your best, there’s nothing else to do.” and “Gotta be in it to win it.” and “Seriously?? It’s a cardboard chef! He’s not going to hurt you!”

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Birthday

birthdaycake

Yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would’ve been 111 years old. That’s a lot of red fish and blue fish and a ton of hops on pops, and a million cats in a billion hats old.

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Humans celebrate Dr. Seuss’s life by reading stories to little kids all over America on his birthday.

I can't read, but I'm celebrating my own way.

I can’t read, but I’m celebrating my own way.

Mom loves Dr. Seuss. And reading stories. And little kids. So she is on board with this. Yesterday, she left me alone while she read her ebook What If I Don’t? (MeeGenius, 2014) to some super cute kindergarten kids.

ebookcover with border

I was worried the whole time she was gone, because once when Mom visited a school, she was approached by a giant cat! In a giant hat!

GAH!

GAH!

Yesterday, she was only approached by one of her favorite teachers and giant bunch of kindergarten kids in giant hats.

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Whew!

Mom had fun reading and talking and laughing with the kids. They were great listeners and laughed at all the right times, gasped at all the right times, repeated some of the words from the story, and made funny faces whenever Mom asked them to.

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They also answered a bunch of questions and asked a few of their own. Mom’s favorite question was, “Once I drew a picture of King Kong on the Empire State Building.” which isn’t actually a question, but it was fun anyway.

I waited at home and was mostly a good girl……

Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat

Dog in the Hat

Dog in the Hat

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are about Following Directions.

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Good. Sometimes it’s good to follow directions. When Mom made Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, she followed the directions and those swirly beauties came out of the oven smelling and tasting PERFECT!

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And yes – she shared!

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Ridiculous. Some directions are just plain silly. Somehow, Mom wrestles me into my snow boots before we go outside.

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There’s a lot of twisting and a little tumbling and some saying of the word, “Ouch.” and the word, “Stay still.” and the word, “Don’t bite your shoes.”

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Neither of us knows exactly how the boots get on my paws, but it certainly isn’t the ridiculous way the directions say to do it.

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Ha!

Helpful. When Mom’s stories are critiqued by her friend or her critique partner or RateYourStory, the suggestions help her make the story better. Following those directions makes sense and they help a “Meh” story become more of a “Wow” story.

wow

Submitting. When Mom submits a story to a publisher or an agent, she has to follow directions to be sure to do it right. She needs to know how to format her story, whether to send it electronically or hard copy, and of course, there are always directions about what to do (or not to do) after the story is sent.

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Behavior. Mom has a billion directions for me to follow when I go to work at Read To A Pet Night. There are directions like, “Don’t pull.” and “No jumping up.” and “Stop licking the books. And the kids. And the chairs. And the floor.”

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Following directions…

Apparently it is also bad manners to jump on the heads of the other dogs, knock over a table of books, and steal treats out of Mom’s treat pouch.

Not following directions...

Not following directions…

Some directions just don’t make any sense at all…

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…Maybe I’ll just lick her foot… It looks delicious!

 

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