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

Archive for the ‘picture book writing’ Category

Countdown Wednesday

calendarToday, Mom and I are counting down about finishing.

end

Things I Finish

3. Eating – I always finish my morning dinner and my evening dinner. Usually in about 45 seconds.

dinner

2. Playing – It’s easy to tell when I am finished playing. I stop tossing, biting, shaking, throwing, and catching my toys. Then I flop down and give Mom the skunk-eye.

fave toys

1. School – I studied hard at obedience school when Mom first adopted me. I am a brilliant graduate of Hal Wheeler.

diploma

I also passed the CGC testing in order to become a therapy pet.

FullSizeRender

I know Mom is proud of me because she says I ‘have my moments’ and I’m ‘unpredictable.’ That’s good…. Right…?

stuck under the walker

“Under the walker…. next to the walker… Whatever… Same thing.”

Things Mom Finishes

3. Eating – I can always tell when Mom is finished eating. Usually there’s ice cream or cookies or cake.

rainbow cake

I know sharing is caring. And I know Mom loves me. But she doesn’t always share.

"Hello."

“Hello.”

2. Working – When Mom “works,” she writes, revises, revises, revises, revises, and …revises. Sooner or later, she has to say, “I’m finished.” and “There’s nothing else I can do here.” and “What do you plan to do with that?”

flip flop

“Eat it? Hide it? Take it on the couch and hatch it like an egg? The possibilities are endless….”

1. School – Mom is finished with being a teacher.

teacher at desk

She retired from that work in 2007. Now she is finished with school visits – for the summer, anyway. We are also finished with library therapy dog visits for the summer. Read to a Pet Night will start up again in September.

reading dog

27. And yes, when enough is enough, I make it clear that I am finished walking….

potato dog

Flapping in the Wind

Some kite flying kids had an early end to their fun spring day. Their kite got stuck in a tree.

kite

They threw stuff at it, but no luck. It just stayed up there, flapping in the wind. Of course they didn’t throw as much stuff at it as the kid in the book Stuck (one of Mom’s all-time favorites), but they gave it a shot.

kite2

I get stuck sometimes. Never in a tree – not yet, anyway. But stuck nonetheless.

In the back seat

seatbelt

Between pillows

pillow

Behind my blanket-bed

blanketbed

Below the dugout bench

dugout

On a wall

onthewall

Inside the sheets

starsheet

Or under the bed

underbed

Mom isn’t stuck with her writing, but she’s stuck in a rut of not submitting anything. Since, apparently, nothing gets published on the dining room table, she has a plan. She will submit 10 stories and/or poems in the month of July.

mailbox

Once things are “out there” then we will have some suspense and something to look forward to. Book 2? Maybe. Ebook 2? Possibly. Something fun is bound to happen.

mailbox with hearts

Meanwhile, I will look forward to ….cake

cake

and kisses.

kisshead

 

 

 

 

Unexpected

Stories should always include the unexpected – unexpected events, unexpected characters or characters traits, unexpected plot twists, and of course unexpected endings. Mom is working on endings to three stories right now, and she’s revising two more stories at the same time. That’s a LOT of surprises, but predictably, she’s plugging along and trying not to be predictable.

surprise

Things in my life are always unexpected. Mom says it’s because my brain is so tiny, it can’t store things from the past. So every day, I act like I was just born. Personally, I think that’s a GREAT way to live!

Hullo....

Hullo….

When I smell bacon, I can’t always remember how to find the source of it. Where can it be? In the car? Across the street? Bacon mystery…. Hmmm….

bagel shop

Mom bought me a new blanket-bed. It seemed easy enough to figure out the first day.

understanding the bed

Then I forgot how it worked.

not understanding the bed

My positions are unexpected, but any way I twist it – it works. Confusing blanket-bed…. This seems right….

really not understanding the bed

This past weekend, I was surprised to discover that I was going along on an unexpected road trip to Mom’s BFF’s yard sale.

bench

No wonder my travel crate was in the living room for a couple of days.

cratecrate2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got to play outside in the yard for a long time, and then I rested in the shade on the porch.

porch crate

Can you see me keeping cool?

And VERY predictably, I napped all the way home. Surprise road trip… Yay…

car nap

Lots of times, Mom drives through McDonald’s and gets me an ice cream cone.

ice cream cone

Actually, she gets it for herself, but she shares it with me.

helping eat the ice cream

Some days at the drive thru, things get unpredictable and we drive out with a salad! Or coffee!! Or a cup of oatmeal!!!

wheres the ice cream

Wait. What?

Usually, unpredictability is good. Sometimes it’s bad. Very, very bad.

Hey! Where's my ice cream?

Hey! Mister! Where’s my ice cream?

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.

signing2

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.

IMG_0632

read 2 a pet

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

desk dog2

Twist

Supposedly there are only seven (or nine) basic story plots in the whole wide world. That means that the millions and millions of books that are written are just different twists on those plots. Mom has been twisting away on three different stories these past couple of weeks. She’s working to make them different and fun and unusual and original and able to stand out in the crowd.

It’s kind of like taking a street nap. I mean – a nap is a nap is a nap. It’s always a challenge to put a new twist on my favorite outdoor activity.

street3Sometimes I sit for a while before totally hitting the deck.

street6Sometimes, I lie on the sidewalk instead of the street. It’s made of the same surface material, so it feels just as good. Plus, no cars can interrupt my nap, and Mom doesn’t have to drag me into the gutter every five minutes to keep me from getting run over.

street10This was a nap I took as soon as I got out of Mom’s car. When I popped out, I felt that warm asphalt and just couldn’t help myself.

street8I especially like a street nap when the ground is extra filthy. Dumpster residue, oil stains, and gravel are some of my favorites. And I make sure to press my allergy spot into the dirt. Mom keeps the spot clean and dry and sanitized and tries very hard not to let it get infected. That’s why I have to take matters into my own paws and drag it through the dirt now and then. I’m pretty sure clean is overrated.

There is always another spin, a better way, a new approach, and a fresh twist – whether it’s for a tired story or a classic street nap. Mom says, “This is super cute!” and “I have a GREAT idea for the ending!” and “Where is the peroxide??”

cone and doggie

….and, “Get in the tub.”

bath

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

weed quote

Mom’s computer is FILLED with weeds! There are six, seven, sometimes ten versions of each weed. She works hard to get the virtues of her weeds discovered. So far, no good. But she is never discouraged. Mom loves weeds. She works with them and revises them, and the whole time she appreciates their beauty. …because why be a writer if you’re not enjoying the writing and not loving what you write?!

Mom appreciates her weeds AND the ones that grow on the lawns around our building.

weeds2

She says, “OMG. This story is so cute.” and “I should send this out somewhere.” and “Don’t eat the flowers. I mean weeds. I mean flowers.”

weeds

They’re weeds….

Weeds are relative.

white weeds

Definitely weeds….

Sometimes, Mom sends her ugly weed stories to her critique group or RYS. They are helpful and encouraging. Then she gets more ideas and she either fixes the weeds to make them bloom into flowers, or she digs into a new piece and starts nurturing it along.  Book #2 or ebook #2 might be right around the corner.

Right around the corner from the purple weeds, are probably…

purple weeds

….more weeds….

dandy

But that’s OK. One man’s weed is another man’s flower.

 

 

 

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Mom strives to make her stories different from what she’s read or written in the past. Let’s face it nobody wants to read the same old same old thing. Sometimes Mom takes two or three ideas from her idea list, jumbles them up, spins them around, flips them over, and fits them into one story to make it different.

ebookcover with border

When you’re an author, different is always better. Different stands out to editors and agents, and eventually different stands out on the shelf at the bookstore.

Book #1

 When Mom pulled her socks out of the dryer, something looked different about them.

socks

No, they didn’t shrink. But there’s a bunch of baby socks in with the regular socks. They’re mine. I wear one on my scratching-foot so I don’t hurt my face if my allergies kick up. Kick up… See what I did there?

owl sock

I saw something else that was different last week. Out in the field with my goose friends there was a white bird. It might have been a small, white goose, and it might have been a big, white duck. But it was different. Whatever it was, I hope it leaves me the same delicious candies as my other goose friends.

white bird

Mom and I went walking at a different park the other day. We saw white birds there, too, but they weren’t geese or ducks at all. They were boats shaped like swans.

swan boat dog

I headed down the dock to catch a ride on one, but Mom said the word, “No boat.” and “Stay by me.” and “I wonder if a story called Dog on a Swan Boat is anything….”

If it starts with the word Dog, it's probably something.

If it starts with the word Dog, it’s probably something…

 

 

 

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