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

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“What is this character thinking?”

“How does she feel about this?”

“Why is he afraid of that?”

“Who makes her happy?”

These are questions that Mom’s critique group named ConnieLindaJenVijiLaurieandOtherJen ask her about her work. They ask these and many other questions to help Mom to investigate deeper into her characters, their motivations, their feelings, and their goals.

Mom is clearly in the branches, but she needs to dig way down there in the roots.

I am not a doggie who digs – at least not outside.

What?

Sometimes, I dig the pupper cover on the sofa to get it out of the way.

And sometimes, I dig the covers on the bed to make a comfy nest for sleeping while Mom is in the shower.

Of course, as soon as I get the pile just right, Mom comes out of the shower, gets dressed, and chases me off the bed.

Seriously? WHY??

Then I am forced to dig the blanket in my own bed.

Today, Mom dug into the robot vacuum. She dumps the trash cup every day. But just like with her critique partners – when the app told her to – she had to dig deeper. Extractors, filters, edge sweepers, contacts, and sensors were removed, checked, cleaned, wiped, polished, and returned.

Apparently, some of this grossness (ALL of this grossness) is my fault.

*gulp*

I’d like to speak with my lawyer…

Mom says, ” I’m ankle-deep in dog hair, here!” and “How can you shed so much and still have fur?” and “I’m going to save all this hair, make a new dog, and throw you in the garbage.” and…  well, after that I stopped hearing her. I have ALWAYS wanted to get into the garbage. This may be my big chance!

 

 

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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!

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!

Inspirational Quote of the Week

 

More…. I LOVE more. It’s my favorite thing.

More treats.

More sweaters.



More walks at the park.

More toys.

More naps.


More playing. More. More. More.

Mom loves more, too. More ideas.

More time.

More writing.

More submitting.

More acceptances. More. More. More.

She’s thinking about doing more learning with 2 challenges in January. If she joins 12×12 and does Storystorm, she will end up with 30 more ideas and 12 more first drafts.

That’s a lot of …more.


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

 

I’m glad our quote this week isn’t, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Mom has been teaching me a new trick for a few days now. I’d hate to think she’s just banging her head against the wall with it.

Wait. What?

She wants me to learn to stand on a little bench so when we visit the VA, my wheelchair friends will be able to reach me better. (Also, Mom won’t have to pick me up 859 times because apparently I am a fat, overgrown meatloaf, and I’m breaking her back.)

So I study.

Just like I studied my IQ treat hider.

And I practice.

Just like I practiced bowling.

And I’m learning.

Just like I learned to fly a plane.*

*Not an actual plane. And I’m not actually flying.

Next week, Mom will also be learning. She will be attending a webinar called The Heart of Picture Books where she will learn a new trick.

She will learn to have more heart in her writing. #olddognewtrickforsure Stories with heart are more likely to connect with readers and agents and editors. Heart is good in stories. Also in real life. Heart is good everywhere.

Learning is good everywhere, too. Even old dogs can learn new tricks.

 

Five Word Friday

 

Today, I picked out 5 words from one of Mom’s old stories that she’s working on again. She’s making it new. And better. And shorter. And better…

6. Pets – Mom has always had pets – even before me. (What a shocker that life didn’t begin with me, #amiright ) She grew up with a Myna bird that talked, a couple of other birds off and on, tropical fish, baby turtles, and of course doggies always.

Sandy

Smoki

92. Basement – Mom got a score back from a story she had rated. She said her score was “in the basement” which is confusing because our house doesn’t have a basement – unless you count where Mom parks the car. It’s just as well. I am already afraid of the parking garage, the fire extinguisher, the elevator, the trash room, and the hallway. I do NOT need a basement to worry about on top of all that.

Yikes! A mirror dog on the ceiling! I’m pretty sure he’s trying to kill me….

14. Grass – When I am not taking a street nap or a sidewalk nap,

I will sometimes lie in the grass for a change of pace.

That said, if the grass is damp for any reason – rain, dew, sprinklers – I will not step in it. Mom says, “Come on, weirdo.” and “I don’t like it either.” and “You can’t walk the tightrope forever.” But yes I can…

#curbwalker

27. Crab – When she was a 3rd grade teacher, Mom had hermit crabs, fiddler crabs, newts, goldfish, mealworms, a turtle, sea monkeys. hamsters, tadpoles, butterflies, frogs, ants, and a parakeet in her classroom at one time or another. Once when I was sleepy, Mom called me the name of Crabby, so in a way, she STILL has a crab.

#sideeye

8. Sweat – Whenever Mom is working on a new story or waiting to hear about something she submitted, she says she is “sweating it out.” I don’t think she knows from sweating while she’s typing and talking to herself in the nice cool house. I know sweating better than she does. I do it through my paws and my mouth. I do it when I’m hot and I do it when I’m nervous. And sometimes, I do it for no reason at all….