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

Archive for the ‘picture book writing’ Category

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!

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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

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Worst and Best fascinate me. Sometimes just when I think I’m being the Best Girl, I discover to my shock and surprise that I am not.

Best Girl helping with laundry

Best Girl looking at Mom

Best Girl not taking a street nap in the dumpster slime

Best Girl getting her exercise

People say all writers have an inner critic telling them their work stinks, they’re wasting their time, nothing they do is  good enough, and they’re straight-up frauds. I don’t have one of those critics in my head. Neither does Mom. I think I learned it from her! When she reads over one of her stories, she’s all, “SO CUTE!” and “I love this thing.” and “Quit staring at me when I’m eating.”

I’m not staring at you. You’re staring at me.

Mom relies on her critique group and RYS and agents and editors to tell her she may not be quite the best. Sometimes, they say nothing. #’nuffsaid. Sometimes they say, “Not what we’re looking for.” or “Fix this. Change that. What about this?”

I rely on Mom to tell me I may not be quite the best.

“Stay away from the edge.”

“Heel!”

“Get off the bed.”

 

Five Word Friday

Last week, Mom had an opportunity to submit a story to an editor Above the Slushpile. That means her work wouldn’t be buried under everybody else’s as much as usual. It’s nice to have a story rise up there and be seen, but even then, it has to shine on its own.

Paws crossed that this one is shiny!

Today’s five words come from that story…

11. Boy – Lots of times, when I am working at the VA, the old soldiers say to Mom, “Look at this guy.” and “What’s his name?” They actually think I’m a boy! I need to always wear a sundress with 3 layers of ruffles to make sure they realize that I’m a girl.

16. Cake – I love cake. Sometimes, I have to fight with Mom to get her to share. If the cake is chocolate, the deal is off,

Bummer!

but sometimes, I’m allowed to jump in

and grab some whipped cream.

Oh yeah!

86. Book – Mom reads picture books like crazy – piles and piles of them – usually 200 a year. It’s a good way to make her writing better, to see what’s out there, and to pass the time while she tries to write and sell the elusive Book #2.

91. Nibble – I think nibbling is for amateurs. I don’t nibble. I gobble. After Mom writes a story, she hides it from herself for a while to let it rest. Then she nibbles at it – adding things, taking things away, and changing things around. Picture books need to make room for the illustrations to help tell the story. More nibbling. Or gobbling.

M-m-m-m… Tiny pancake. Nom. Nom. Nom.

65. Messy – First drafts can be messy. They’re supposed to be messy. Messy and stupid and even embarrassing, sometimes. If I get messy, Mom sticks me in the bathtub and scrubs me clean and puts conditioner on me and dries me with towels. #itshorrific

Inspirational Quote of the Week

We are not what we think, or what we say, or how we feel. We are what we do.

~Gordon Livingston~

Nailed it, Livingston! What we do matters – waaaay more than all that other stuff.

So when Mom sits down and writes something new or fixes something old or submits something she likes or works with her critique group named LindaVijiJenConnieandOtherJen, she is a straight-up writer.

Me being a straight-up writer.

Sometimes, she sits on the balcony and reads her Kindle.

Sometimes, we go to the park.

Sometimes, she teaches me tricks.

Sit up.

Find the cookie.

Not really a trick, but I just really want to come inside.

Sometimes, we play.

Sometimes, we work as a therapy team.

Did somebody say eggs? And ham?! Yes, please…

Sometimes, we shop.

Sometimes, she leaves me alone like a dog, and reads books at the bookstore which I’m pretty sure is a hop, skip, and a jump from stealing.

Is she a writer then? Well, not a straight-up writer, but still a writer. She says, “I’m getting ideas” and “I need to keep it fresh” and “Staying current is important” and “I’m mind-writing” and “Let’s get moving, weirdo. We’re burning daylight, here!”

*sigh*