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

Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

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!

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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.

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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,

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hidden

Sometimes, when Mom writes a story, it’s not the story she meant to write. When stories jump from her head to her hands to her computer, bad things can happen.

computer kid (2)

The stories can go on and on and on. And on. The plot can go off track. The focus can go away…

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… and then come back again.

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And then go away again.

blurrybedCharacters can refuse to do what she wants them to do. BAD things can happen.

Remember this...?

Remember this…?

The story from Mom’s brain might be in there somewhere, but it’s hidden. When Mom gets to the end, she says, “It’s twice as long as it should be.” and “This sounded better in my head.” and “Where’s your other boot?”

missing boot

It snowed last weekend in my neighborhood. EVERYTHING was hidden under 28 inches of that cold, white stuff. I was hidden under the hood of my pink parka.

hood problem

Who turned out the lights?

My beautiful paws were hidden in boots to protect them from cold. And rock salt.

boots are killing me

A sofa near the dumpster was hidden under a snow drift.

sofa

After a couple of days, I found some grass that was hidden near a disconnected snowplow that was hidden behind a building.

plow

A long time ago, I found a soggy potato chip bag hidden under the snow. So far, try as I might, I haven’t found any buried food.

looking in snow

Maybe when Mom is finished searching for the elusive, amazing story from her head, we’ll take a walk and see if there’s an elusive, amazing McDonald’s wrapper hidden under the snow. Or maybe I’ll just rest for a little while…

clearbed

Happiness

It would be silly for Mom to be a writer if writing didn’t make her happy. So I guess it makes her happy… At least most of the time.

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She writes just about every day. When she works, she’s challenged, inspired, enthusiastic, and motivated. Except when she’s disappointed, hopeless, worried, and bummed out. Luckily, that’s not too often. Only when she thinks Print Book #2 and E Book #2 are taking too long to happen. Most of the time, she thinks they’re just around the corner….

My friend Lexi the Schnauzer tagged me to participate in the 8 Photos of Happiness Challenge. Since I am never disappointed, hopeless, worried, or bummed out, I would be able to post 8,000 photos of happiness. ….but I won’t. Here are my 8.

1. New toys from PupJoy.

1. New toys from PupJoy.

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2. Showing off.

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3. People watching.

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4. School visits with Mom. And KIDS!

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5. Listening to stories at the library.

6. A cool drink of water after a hike.

6. A cool drink of water after a hike.

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7. A nice, warm street nap.

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8. Bringing smiles to my friends at the Veteran’s Home.

Did I say 8?

I can't post about happiness without the baby swing at the park.

8 1/2. I can’t post about happiness without the baby swing at the park.

Here are the rules for the challenge:

Thank your nominator and link them in your post. (Thanks Lexi!)
Link the creator. (Ariel’s little corner of the internet)
Post your 8 photos of happiness. (or 8,000)
The photos can be anything that represents a moment, object, place or feeling that makes you happy.
Pop in a brief description of the photo, why you chose it or let the photos do the talking!
Spread the happiness and tag up to ten other bloggers! (I’m tagging all of my friends – if you want to share some happiness, jump in!)