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

Archive for the ‘picture book writing’ Category

Work in Progress

Around my neighborhood, there are a few works in progress. This vine is definitely a work in progress – trying to grow something. Mom says, “Maybe pumpkins.” I hope not. *shiver* Either way, the flowers are there, but it looks like it needs another year (or ten) before anything will pop out to scare the daylights out of me.


This pile of …. I don’t know what – is another work in progress. Sometimes it seems like road salt, but sometimes, it looks like mulch. I guess it’ll make up its mind eventually.


When Mom was a teacher, she used to stamp her kids’ first drafts with a rubber stamp that read, “Under Construction.”

under construction

The kids thought it was fun. Plus that stamp told them to work on revising and proofreading their stories for a little while longer so they would be ready to hang on the bulletin board.

This month, Mom is studying in Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class.

pb magic

Her new story is a work in progress and is under construction in a big way. Every morning, Susanna teaches Mom what to do next in order to have a finished story by the end of the month. Mom does each step and then posts it to their Facebook page so her classmates can see it and talk about it with her. She thinks it’s fun to have a work in progress that moves closer to completion every day.

Something else is a work in progress at our house. A whole box of orange snowball cakes.


Mom is trying hard to eat them all herself. I offered to help, but she said, “No thanks.” and “Dogs can’t eat chocolate.”


and “Your behavior is DEFINITELY under construction.”



Inspirational Quote of the Week


Writers see possibilities a lot. They imagine them and ask about them inside their heads when they’re making up a story. They especially need to consider them when they’re revising.  Mom had an old story that she liked a lot. She showed it to her writing group friends and they said SO many amazing things about it. Like, “There’s too much this.” or “Not enough that.” and “Maybe you can try some of this.” or “You may want to add some of that.” Mom considered the possibilities and tried some of the suggestions and guess what. The story is VERY different, and Mom loves it even more in its new form! Who knew?

Possibilities. I love those guys. I, for one, am happy to hear that they never run out.

Riding in the car opens a ton of possibilities.


Mouth open, sunroof open, ready for the open road…

The car can lead to this…


or this…


or this…


or this…


New places, new sights, new peemail from new friends, and sometimes a tree-root nap…


Now and then the car leads to this…


Take it easy, lady. Leave me a nail or two to scratch my ears with!

Walking into the bathroom opens fewer possibilities. Maybe I’ll be able to sniff the shower gel and wait while Mom takes a shower. Unless she says the word, “That’s soap, not food.” or “That’s not a water bowl.” or “OUT. Can I have 5 minutes of privacy?”


Sometimes it flat out leads to this…


which leads to this…


which leads to this


Pardon my bits and pieces, but I’m trying to air condition my wet belly.



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.


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.


2. Showing off.


3. People watching.


4. School visits with Mom. And KIDS!


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.


7. A nice, warm street nap.


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!)

Inspirational Quote of the Week


Writers are always looking for inspiration. Mom is no exception. The other day, Mom and I took a ride to Meadowlands Environment Center for inspiration. She likes to be in nature to clear out her head.


Doggies like inspiration, too. I like to be in nature because it smells good!


The GPS lady told us we had arrived at our destination.



Mom said naughty words about her because we had so NOT arrived at our destination.

This looks like a good place to get murdered.

This looks like a good place to get murdered.

Mom drove and complained and drove some more and complained some more and somehow found the place anyway.


She was inspired by the beautiful flowers and the views and bunches of summer camp field trip kids scooping goop out of the swamp to study.”


I was inspired by the smelly old swamp. I was pretty sure I could swim in there, but Mom said the word, “Time to go home and write.” and “Inspiration has to find me working.” and “Don’t even think about it.”


Mom still only “works” for an hour a day, but she works very hard during that hour – doing her KidLit Summer School stuff, checking in on her critique group, and working on new things that she’s writing and old things that she’s fixing. I sure hope when Inspiration drops around it comes at the right time. Otherwise, it’ll find her eating a donut…


…or watching TV or reading her Kindle or talking on the phone or God forbid giving me a bath.



Help me…



Five Word Friday

5 cards

There’s some new stuff going on around here. Today’s five words are all about new stuff.

1. Toys. Mom bought me some new toy hot dogs for Fourth of July. Apparently, these were supposed to take the place of having a delicious REAL hot dog at a delicious ACTUAL barbecue.

Fun, but not delicious.

Fun, but not delicious.

68. Group. Mom joined a new online writing critique group. There’s a bunch of smarty, creative, friendly, and helpful people who will talk with Mom about her stories and their stories. It seems like fun, because who doesn’t love talking to smarty, creative, friendly, and helpful people. I wish I could sit on their feet, cuddle up with them, and lick their teeth. Yeah – that’s a thing, and I’m pretty good at it.

tooth kiss2


33. Clothes. Mom and I had to stay away from the house for a few hours because of workmen putting in a new front window. Plus power tools and glass breaking could scare a little doggie. We spent some time looking around at the pet store. Mom picked out this new shirt for me. It tells a true fact.

97. Window. Our new front window works great.

new window

I can watch Mom leave and wait for her to come back. Also, Mom gets to wash my nose prints and spit off the glass every single day of her life.

waiting in the window

5. Summer School. Mom will start studying in Kidlit Summer School at the end of the month. Every day she will read posts, get ideas, do assignments, and share her work with her cyberclassmates. I’m hoping it’ll be fun for her. I know it’ll be fun for me because she has to stay here with me to do it. It’s school, but it’s home! Yay!

watching work

Helping. #notcreepy


Inspirational Quote of the Week

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

Leonardo DaVinci

I would love to be a doggie who “happened to things.” But unfortunately, most of the time, things happen to me. I blame this on my leash. One of Mom’s friends pointed out that in every single picture of me – there’s the leash. How can I make things happen when I’m tethered to Mom all the time?

Posed in front of the flowers.


Plopped on a bench.


Placed on a chair.


Pulled from a street nap.


Propped on a rock.


Plunked on an examining table.

vet table

This is an issue in some of Mom’s stories, too. Her characters are sometimes called “slight” because they aren’t doing enough. Things are happening to them, instead of them happening to things like Leonardo said. Mom has to look for this slightness every single time she works on a story. When she spots it, she has to fix it up to make the story more meaty and less slight.

Did somebody say "meaty?"

Did somebody say “meaty?”

Mom says, “It’s easy enough to spot this problem.”

ladybug (2)

and “It’s tougher to fix it.”


and “Do NOT dig a hole in that garden!”


Leash! GAH!

Five Word Friday


Looking over her stories, Mom is noticing she has three different kinds – some that aren’t ready yet, some that are old and worn out, and some that are just about right. Today’s five words are about growing and changing. It’s good for characters, good for stories, good for authors, good for butterflies, …and good for me.


1. Unripe – New stories need time to ripen up.

Ugh! Green and underdone.

Ugh! Green and underdone.

Whenever Mom finishes a story she tucks it away and doesn’t look at it or think about it for a few weeks. It sits in the computer until it gets ripe.

2. Learning – When Mom first adopted me, I apparently did not know how to conduct myself. She had to teach me A LOT of things. Plus she took me to obedience school so she could learn how to make me learn. Wait. What?

CGC diploma

3. Overripe – Some of Mom’s stories have been around for years and years. And YEARS. She has revised them and revised them and edited them and overhauled them and submitted them and revamped them. She’s done everything but run them over with her car.

dog in car

She hasn’t totally ruled that out because they’re going nowhere.

I think this one has been run over by a car...

I think this one has been run over by a car…

4. Waiting – Writers do a LOT of waiting. So do I. I wait for Mom to share her breakfast,

Did somebody say pancake?

Did somebody say pancake?

wait for her to come home, wait for her to go walking with me, wait for her to take me in the car, and wait for my dinner.


5. Just Right – Like the porridge, the chairs, and the beds in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, some of Mom’s stories are just right. They’re not too old and not too new. They’re not too long and not too short. They’re not too blah and not too way out there.


Perfect! May I eat it??


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 599 other followers