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

Archive for the ‘critique group’ Category

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“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.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“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..?

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“What is this character thinking?”

“How does she feel about this?”

“Why is he afraid of that?”

“Who makes her happy?”

These are questions that Mom’s critique group named ConnieLindaJenVijiLaurieandOtherJen ask her about her work. They ask these and many other questions to help Mom to investigate deeper into her characters, their motivations, their feelings, and their goals.

Mom is clearly in the branches, but she needs to dig way down there in the roots.

I am not a doggie who digs – at least not outside.

What?

Sometimes, I dig the pupper cover on the sofa to get it out of the way.

And sometimes, I dig the covers on the bed to make a comfy nest for sleeping while Mom is in the shower.

Of course, as soon as I get the pile just right, Mom comes out of the shower, gets dressed, and chases me off the bed.

Seriously? WHY??

Then I am forced to dig the blanket in my own bed.

Today, Mom dug into the robot vacuum. She dumps the trash cup every day. But just like with her critique partners – when the app told her to – she had to dig deeper. Extractors, filters, edge sweepers, contacts, and sensors were removed, checked, cleaned, wiped, polished, and returned.

Apparently, some of this grossness (ALL of this grossness) is my fault.

*gulp*

I’d like to speak with my lawyer…

Mom says, ” I’m ankle-deep in dog hair, here!” and “How can you shed so much and still have fur?” and “I’m going to save all this hair, make a new dog, and throw you in the garbage.” and…  well, after that I stopped hearing her. I have ALWAYS wanted to get into the garbage. This may be my big chance!

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

 

When I was first adopted, I walked forward, backward, sideways, and upside down. I zigged and zagged and wiggled and waggled. I pulled and pushed and jumped and got in the way. Mom said, “Here is your forever home.” and “You’re my new doggie.” and “This psycho mutt is trying to kill me!”

Zigging and zagging…

Then I went to obedience school so I could learn how to walk nicely on my leash. After 10 weeks of studying, I was a perfect walker with the best manners.

Well, maybe not perfect… It took a few more weeks before I stopped trying to chase cars, but eventually, I did.

Walking forward is a great skill to have. Looking forward is also a great skill to have. Mom and I do both. A lot.

There is a time to walk back, though. When Mom works on a story, she tries to keep it moving forward. Each day, she takes her characters a little further through the plot. Sometimes she knows exactly where the story is going. Sometimes, she is straight-up flying blind. But forward she goes day after day. When she gets to the end of the story, then it’s time to look back.

First the story gets to sleep for a while inside the computer.

Sleep is important for stories and for busy puppers…

After a week or two, Mom looks back and starts revising and editing the story. She goes back over it 9,000 times. She reads it out loud, makes changes, takes stuff out, adds stuff in, and moves stuff around. Sometimes she sends it to her critique group, sometimes to Rate Your Story. Sometimes she says, “I’m finished fussing with this thing.” And she starts a new story to do the same stuff all over again. Forward and back. Forward and back. This psycho-human is trying to kill me!

Five Word Friday

 

Today’s 5 words are from a story Mom is writing for the January 12×12 Challenge. The story isn’t finished, yet, but each day it gets closer to the end. In the 12×12 Challenge, she will be writing a story a month for the whole year!

16. Ladybug – I have never tasted a ladybug. But once, I ate a butterfly. It didn’t taste as good as it looked, but I ate it anyway. One day when Mom and I were hiking, a butterfly landed on my back. I didn’t eat that one, but he looked delicious.

42. Sidewalk – Our sidewalks are covered with rock salt. It was put there to fight off the 18 snowflakes that fell the other day.

Mom is threatening to put my boots on to protect my delicate, little feet. So far, she hasn’t done it. She’s settling for scrubbing them clean as soon as I come back inside.

Totally unnecessary!

9. Tiny – Sometimes, Mom writes tiny 100- or 200-word stories for magazines. Lately, none of them has been picked up, but they are still fun to write. One really tiny one was rejected yesterday, in fact, so things are going along as usual.

Sometimes, I am very tiny…

87. Flying – Mom is flying through her Storystorm Challenge this month. She has to make a list of 30 picture book ideas in 31 days. And guess what – she already HAS 30 ideas! All the rest of the days and ideas are just gravy. (Mmmmm… gravy…) Each day, she reads a blog post and it helps her get an idea. Or two. Or six.

33. Legs – Mom keeps her writing-legs in shape by practicing. She reads, writes, revises, edits, submits, and critiques. Her writing-legs stay strong, so when Book #2 comes along she will be ready to run with it. I keep my doggie-legs strong by running, sliding, climbing, begging, and jumping a lot.



Mom worries that my fat little meatloaf body will get too big for my skinny, stick legs. She weighs me every week to check for fatness.

23.5 – Not bad…

Sometimes, I am put on treat restriction.

24! Blerg!

Snow pea? Seriously??

 

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution to their problems, and everyone refuses to believe in magic!”

~Alice in Wonderland~

No, Alice. Some people and puppers DO believe in magic. There are many magical things at my house. Mom believes that magical things will help her reach her goals. Since I have no goals, I go along to get along and humor her.

The Daruma Doll brings optimism, good fortune, and strong determination. Daruma dolls are sold without the eyeballs painted in. People paint in one eye when they set out to do something and paint in the other one when they have achieved the goal. As you can see, our poor, little Daruma dude still only has one eye…

Heart shaped rocks…and 4-leaf clovers are a couple of the things Mom is always watching for on our walks.

This guy brings faith, magical power, and spiritual strength.

And of course the dream catcher filters out the bad dreams and lets the good dreams fly through. The dream feathers carry the dreams home.

So, Mom has big plans for all her lucky, magical things to take her to the elusive Book #2 in 2019. Well, that and some hard work, new twists, and a couple of online challenges and support groups. Paws crossed that something works.

Mom’s magic and mine are slightly different. I think the most magical thing in the whole house is the treat drawer! Bags and bags of treats.

All I have to do is be a good girl and ba-bam. I get a treat from the drawer! Yum. Magic!

Oh – and the car keys hanging on the doorknob are pretty magical, too…

Road trip!

Strategy

Even though my brain is very tiny, and I am not a great problem solver, I am able to devise a strategy for survival when necessary. Surviving was the name of the game when I lived on the street by myself for three years before I was rescued.

Me at the high-kill shelter with my puppies.

Mom is surviving as a writer. Even though she hasn’t had a story published in a while, she plugs away – writing, revising, editing, and submitting. And reading, researching, critiquing, and creating. That’s her strategy.

My strategy changes from time to time. I like to stay proactive and flexible.

Often, I hide – under cars…

behind the bleachers…

and half under the bed…

Nobody will ever find me here.

I watch – the ceiling

through the window…

and out the door…I’ve also had success with my strategy of staring with…

and without the head tilt…

I’m known for keeping my distance…

Keep reading. I’ll just listen from over here behind the chair…

stealth…

and straight-up stubbornness.

Mom should step up her strategy game. Apparently, plugging away isn’t proactive and flexible enough!

I’m fine. I swear. It’s not too cold for a street nap. #staystubborn