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

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Countdown Wednesday

Today, Mom and I are counting down about favorites.

My Favorites

3. Eating is my favorite activity. Sometimes, Mom adds chicken pieces to my kibbles. Sometimes, she puts in some carrots or green beans. If she gives me plain kibbles, I look at her like…

Seriously??

Plain kibbles are not OK.

That’s more like it!

2. My favorite place to sleep is in Mom’s bed. I am very cuddly in that thing. Plus, I like to stay under the covers. Waaaay under the covers.

1. My favorite toy is….

Um…. GAH! I love them all!

Mom’s Favorites

3. Morning is Mom’s favorite time to work on writing stories. She dreamed that she would do all her writing in her pajamas,

but she can’t manage it. She flies out of bed and dives into the shower at the crack of dark, and then gets dressed so we can go for a walk.

2. Mom loves both her published stories – her print book –

and her eBook –

but her favorite pre-published books are named Ballet Secret and Cupcake Learns. She always wants one of them to become the elusive Book#2. So far… Nope.

1. Mom’s favorite part of being an author is school visits. She loves reading stories to kids and talking to them about writing and being an author. Sometime soon, I plan to go to school with her…

Backpack, books, apple for the teacher… I’m ready!

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

I love children (and also wet cement, but that’s another story for another time.). Mostly children are just my size. I love to taste them and snuggle up next to them (and also hump them, but that’s another story for another time.).

I see children at the library when they come to tell me stories at Read to a Pet Night.

Sometimes they taste like gum. And mac and cheese. A lot of them choose doggie books which I appreciate.

But I’m a good girl and listen politely, even when the book is about a C-A-T or FlyGuy or ToyStory.

Sometimes, I see children at the VA when they are visiting an old soldier that they know and love. I mean what’s not to love about an old soldier? They’re adorable. And more importantly, they think I’m adorable. #thingsthatmatter

Being adorable.

Mom writes stories for children. Long ago, she took a class and tried to write an adult story. It FELT horrible when she was doing it, it SOUNDED horrible when she read it to herself, and everybody she read it to said it WAS horrible. So yeah. I guess spending 35 years surrounded by children makes your head work in a certain way that’s tough to fight and impossible to change.

She is always careful about what she writes and how she writes it because just like when she was a teacher, she wants children to remember her words in a good way that will stick with them (like cement) and make them grow up into better humans.

Mom has not forgotten about her dark-of-night challenge.

She has started her story and is wondering if it will ever make it to the night. So far, no. But her character named Martin might take it that way eventually… I’m hoping so, for Mom’s sake. And hoping not for mine. And Martin’s.

Aargh…

 

 

Unexpected Things

Rate Your Story Rating Scale:
10 – Consider this story as practice.
9 – This story is best saved for reading to your family.
8 – If at first you don’t succeed…rewrite, rewrite again.
7 – Your idea has merit, but the story needs a lot of revision.
6 – Not bad, but doesn’t stand out.
5 – Better than average, but still needs work.
4 – A decent story. Could be great with a few revisions.
3 – Good story! Get a critique or two and polish before submitting.
2 – A very good story with the potential to be outstanding! Nearly submission-ready!
1 – Great story! You should consider submitting this!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Usually, things go just as you expect them to go. When Mom sends her work to Rate Your Story, lots of times it gets rated a 4 or a 5.

But unexpected things happen all the time. Recently, one of her stories was rated a 2.

Also, recently, one of her stories was rated a 7. Mom works equally as hard on each of them, and feels equally good when she sends them in, but there’s no way to know what clicks and what clunks.

Speaking of clunking, the front door at my house where I have lived for the past 7 years clunks shut on its own every time Mom and I go into or out of it. We expect the clunk and usually things go as we expect them to go.

But unexpected things happen all the time. Last week, I unexpectedly hesitated in the doorway, and the door clunked shut ON MY TAIL. I screamed and pulled it free, but the last little bit of my long, monkey tail didn’t make it out. It was left behind on the living room floor!

Yikes!

When Mom gets her scores, she looks carefully at what went wrong and fixes the story up. There are little changes like tweaking the opening to make the conflict clearer. And big changes like changing the entire point of view of the story. Whatever she does, the story is never the same again.

Doctors looked at what was left of my tail and decided how to fix it up. I slept peacefully through my surgery, and have been sporting a series of adorable bandages…

and the cone of courage.

This week, my stitches will be removed and I will be back to my old self. But my tail will never be the same again.

*sigh* Good times….

Soon, we will move to our new house. And yes, as I expected, that door also clunks shut on its own.

I’ll just wait right here. Thank you very much.

 

New Places

Mom is visiting two new places this week. She will speak at two schools that she’s never visited before. She has packed up her bag of supplies and box of goodies.

I smell gum...

I smell gum…

At school, she will talk and listen and read and ask and answer questions.

school visit

Somehow, she already knows it will be fun.

At home, I’ll be sad and lonely and possibly a little scared to be by myself. I will check out the window, listen by the door, bark at shadows and phantom sounds, and take 562 naps.

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Somehow, I already know it will NOT be fun.

Soon, Mom and I will be moving to a new place. She’ll be packing up bags and boxes and moving men will come and go a lot. I will try not to be afraid, but just in case, my safety crate is here.

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This will be our little balcony.

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And this will be our little dog park.

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Somehow, we both already know this will be a TON of fun.

 

Countdown Wednesday

123

Today we are counting down things we believe.

Things Mom Believes

35. Writing is a tough job. Being a teacher was a tough job, too. And so is being a college supervisor…. The bottom line is – I guess all jobs are tough. That’s why they’re called work and not a party.

THIS is a party!

THIS is a party!

 2. Book 2 and/or e-Book 2 will happen eventually. Learning her craft, writing a lot, reading a lot, and submitting sometimes is what writers do. Getting rejected a lot is also what writers do. So, Mom is doing what writers do. Mission accomplished.

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16. Author visits are fun. Mom has 2 school visits scheduled in the next few weeks. She believes they are one of the best parts of being an author. She will talk, read, ask and answer questions, and play games. Author visits are not my favorite.

...bye... SERIOUSLY??

…bye… SERIOUSLY??

Things I Believe

6. Watching The Puppy Bowl is a tough job.

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I am sure I could’ve made a hundred touchdowns, spiked the ball, the pig, the monkey, and the rubber chicken, and done the victory dance like crazy. If only I could figure out how to get inside the TV.

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Hullo…?

21. Read to a Pet Night will happen eventually. All I need to do is look cute, wait for Mom to get ready,

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be a good girl on my ParkIt Mat, and soon the kids will come and read to me.

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Mission accomplished.

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3. Snow is fun. I like walking and running in the snow, as long as it doesn’t touch my belly. Sometimes the snow gets crazy and blows my ears out like wings and makes my eyes get all squinchy. Slightly less fun, but aside from street nap weather, snow is my next favorite.

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Countdown Wednesday

Mom reads a lot. She reads picture books,

book-pile

grown up books, blogs, websites, Instagram and Facebook posts,

ig

kiddie magazines, and of course CATalogs. *shiver* I don’t know how to read, but people read to me a lot. Today, Mom and I are counting down about reading.

My Reading Countdown

3. Read-to-a-Pet-Night – Kids come to the library to read to me at Read-to-a-Pet-Night. Sometimes they read dog books, which make me very happy.

happy-with-dog-bookSometimes they read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?. The purple cat scares me, but I try to be brave.

2. Waiting – When Mom is reading, I wait. Eventually, she finishes and then we play or cuddle or go to the park.

verona-stump

At Read-to-a-Pet-Night, I wait for a reader like a good girl – no crying, no playing with the other therapy pets, and no begging for treats when apparently I didn’t do anything to earn them.

Empty chair. Bummer...

Empty chair. Bummer…

8. Listening – When Mom works on her writing, she reads out loud to herself. I listen very carefully, in case there’s anything in there I need to know. Once, I heard the word “dog boots” which scared me because I hate my boots.

boots-and-bellyBut it made me happy at the same time because it meant Mom was writing about a dog!

Mom’s Reading Countdown

3. Read-to-a-Pet-Night – Mom has fun at Read-to-a-Pet-Night. She loves hearing the kids read stories. It reminds her of her teacher days, but without any of the teacher stress or responsibility.

tennis-dress-reading

Stress-free-chillin’. Like a boss…

2. Picture books – Mom reads 200 picture books every year. She rates them and keeps count of them on her Goodreads page. Sometimes she reads them at Barnes and Noble.

books-and-drinkSometimes she brings them home from the library and reads them our house. I help her choose the best ones.

This one!

This one!

74. Listening – Mom is always listening for story ideas. She listens extra hard to moms and kids. She learns names, interests, slang, quirks, and speech patterns from them. She never knows when something will kick in and give her a new story idea. Meanwhile, I can give her all the story ideas she needs…

Me.

Me.

Me.

Me.

ME!

ME!

 

 

School Visits

Mom says that school visits are one of the absolute best perks of being an author.

barnes and noble

Talking, reading, and playing with bunches of kids is one of her favorite things to do, and being an author gives her a reason (excuse) to do it.

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For 35 years, she didn’t need an excuse because she was a teacher.

Teacher-Mom

Teacher-Mom

I guess you can take the teacher out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher.

Mom has been to three author visits in the past month. At one of them, she helped kids understand how to accept and include differently-abled friends.

old bridge

Author-Mom

At another one, she taught about how an idea becomes a story and how that story becomes a book. And the third visit was just a quick stop to see the kids she taught and pick up a thank you note and gift that they made for her.

bulletin board note

Perfect fit on Mom’s inspiration board…

...and not a bad spot for a nap, either.

…and not a bad spot for a nap, either.

That quick stop included a cute little doggie in her flag dress who was invited along by the teacher, instead of being left behind watching out the window as the car pulled away.

looking

It was ME! I was invited to school!!

note at schoolI have dreamed about this for-like-EVER! I was petted and fussed over and had a captive audience to watch me do tricks and feed me treats. I tasted pretty much every single kid, and they were delicious! They tasted like crayons. And gum. And lunchroom pizza. And playground dirt. Everyone said I was well-behaved and cute as a buttermilk biscuit. Well, they didn’t exactly say that, but I knew it was true.

thinker

Being cute…

Mom even took a minute to talk to the kids about how to meet a new dog and how to avoid dog bites and keep from scaring or startling dogs.

school visit

And a little about the job that therapy dogs do.

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read 2 a pet

Did I mention how everyone loved me and said I was cute? Yeah… That.

desk dog2