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

Posts tagged ‘children’s literature’

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mom is working on 3 different stories that she’s not crazy about. She is certain that they WILL get better, just like Janet says they will, so she keeps going back and forth from one to the other and moving them forward. Paws crossed that they’ll get better real soon.

Packing for our move to the new apartment is also coming along. Mom is feeling on top of the whole thing and not frazzled at all.

Wait. What? Uh…. Mom? A little help here, please…

I’m on top of everything, too….in my own way.

Mom works on one story and when she gets stuck, she switches to another one till she gets stuck. Then she switches again and works on the third one for a while. Little by little, things are getting done.

Around here, Mom also goes from one thing to another. She empties a cabinet and then switches to the bookshelf and packs up some of that stuff. Then she switches again and packs up the stuff in a desk drawer. Little by little, things are getting done.

With my help, of course…

Mom mind-writes about her stories, too, so by the time she sits down to write, she knows a few ideas to help her get going.

I mind write in my special doggie way.

And when I wake up I have LOTS of ideas to help me get going.

I smell gum.

What?

I smell cookies.

I smell outside.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

William Somerset Maugham

First of all, I love this guy. How could I not? His name is W. Somerset Mom. And just like Mom, he talks about rules. Mom has a lot of rules for me. Here are the top three:

14. Keep off the bed after it’s made.

img_4723

6. Always put the toys back in the toy box.

img_4734

97. Don’t eat garbage.

img_4729

Somethin’ smells good…

3. No begging.

img_4718

Mom doesn’t know the novel rules any better than Maugham does. Ditto the picture book rules.

books

I mean she knows there needs to be a great opening, unpredictable characters, conflict, voice, rising action, increasing obstacles, excitement, humor, emotion, lyrical language, plot twists, surprises, and of course a satisfying ending.

books2

Sometimes, when she reads picture books – which she does A LOT,

books3she says the word, “What? There’s no conflict here.” and “Aargh. That was SO predictable.” and “Get off the bed!”

img_4738

and “Ugh. Worst ending ever.” and “Meh.” and “Don’t even think about it!”

img_4731

So apparently, there are rules and there is reality. It’s tough to know what an editor will like. It’s much easier to know what Mom will like.

img_4739

What?

Finished

I was tortured last week. First Mom lured me into the bathroom.

Oooh. A trail of chicken. Yes, please.

Oooh. A trail of chicken! Yes, please.

Then she tricked me into the tub and gave me a bath!

bath3There was splashing and shivering…

bath2

…water pouring, crazy amounts of soap suds, 5 entire minutes of standing still covered in sweet smelling conditioner…

conditioner…and 3 giant towels.

bath-towelI tried numerous times to shake the bath off of me, but only succeeded in sharing a little of the bath with Mom. And the walls. And the floor. And the vanity. And the door.

dog-shaking-cartoonOne thing I know for sure is that it was my LAST. BATH. EVER. I could tell because the shampoo bottle is empty.

shampoo

No more shampoo = No more baths

That’s what it means… Right…?

Mom finished her most recent story. She wrote it and wrote it, revised it like crazy, sent it to her critique group, and then revised it like crazy all over again. Now it’s finished. I’m pretty sure it’s her LAST. STORY. EVER.

endThat’s what it means… Right…?

Wait. What?

computerAarrrgh. She’s starting a BRAND NEW story!

*gulp* Does that mean…..

bath-closeup

Oh no!

 

Weirdness

Sometimes things can get weird. If you’re a writer, like Mom – weird is a good thing.

alien

If a story takes a weird turn, has a weird character, or a weird ending – all the better. Predictable stories are bad.

blahSomething got weird on my walk last week. Mom and I saw a freaky, alien, mutant mushroom growing like crazy under a tree.

mushroom1

Tasting it was not an option, apparently, but I gave it a good look and a really good sniff.

mushroom2

FYI – It was gross.

Weird things are happening to the trees in my neighborhood. The green leaves have started turning colors…

yellow-tree

…and falling all over the place. I don’t like the sound they make when I walk on them. Too crunchy! Sometimes, Mom says the word, “Sit” and I won’t lie. I hate it.

Make it stop!

Make it stop!

From now on, I hope Mom keeps all the weirdness in her computer and in her stories. I do not like weirdness….

Who turned off the lights?

As anyone can see, I am just a normal, regular doggie…

sunglass-hat

Plan B

We all need a Plan B sometimes. Mom had a new story going strong. But she got stuck. So she skipped a few lines and started the same story over again a different way. She liked it better! Plan B success. Then she got stuck again. She sat over it for a little while staring at the computer. Tomorrow, she is moving on to something else. I guess that’s Plan C. She’ll begin a new story and forget about this one for now.

abc

Sometimes, I need a Plan B, too. When Mom was walking with me in the field, we noticed that the soccer nets were all brand new. We walked closer to check them out. One of us got a little too close.

IMG_3490

I used to get caught like a tuna in the old nets a lot, so we stopped walking there. Mom said, “Again? Really??” and “Is your brain THAT tiny?” and “We’re done here.”

But I wasn’t “done here” so I gave it another shot. This time I tried to bite my way out.

#netfail

#netfail

In a little while, Mom showed me how to walk around the side of the net so I wouldn’t get stuck.

Freedom!

Freedom!

I wish I could show her how not to be stuck in her story… Before she gets to Plan Z. Oh! I know! How about a dog story?

IMG_2954

 

 

 

 

Five Word Friday

5

Today’s five words come from one of Mom’s new stories.

16. Gum – I love gum. Yes, it’s true that I have never had gum and Mom says I never will, but I’m pretty sure I love it. Gum hides in Mom’s purse sometimes and once in a while it’s in the grocery bag, or in drawers that I can’t reach.

can't reach

8. Crashing – I crash land a lot. It happens when I run and slide and when I try to fly across the room or leap onto something I can’t reach. Mom crashes when a story or poem she wrote gets rejected. After her crashes she rallies by making revisions and trying again. After my crashes,  I run to Mom and beg for a treat to make me feel better.

cookie

720. Eggs – Once Mom wrote a poem about an egg that wasn’t an egg. It was really just a rock. So yeah. She wrote a poem about a rock. That’s how rejection happens… I’m just sayin’. I like to collect toys and things (like Mom’s glasses) and tuck them under my tummy on the couch. I try to hatch them like eggs. So far, nothing has hatched.

hatching

47. Tricks – I know lots of tricks. I can roll, bowl,

bowling pins

high five, sniff out a hidden treat, knock down a pile of paper cups,

IMG_3304

and of course, dance.

Mom uses tricks a lot in her writing. She tries to make interesting characters have unusual goals, encounter a bunch of obstacles, and in a tricky ending, she surprises the reader.

cups down

knock em down

5. Sleep – I sleep in Mom’s bed. She says, “Move over, chubby.” and “How can such a tiny dog take up so much space?” and sometimes, “This is my worst story ever. It will put editors to sleep!”

Seriously. A whole poem about a rock?

Seriously, though. A whole poem about a rock?   Z-z-z-z-z…

 

 

 

Being Prepared

When Mom and I go for a walk, we are always prepared – treats in one pocket, plastic bag in the other.

IMG_3189

Also, there are antibacterial wipes, house keys and the car key in my little penguin leash pouch.

penguin pouch

I wear a harness AND a Martingale collar. Mostly, I’m fine with my harness, but if I get scared of something, Mom switches the leash to my collar so I won’t pull away. I am more obedient with my collar. Eventually….

IMG_3219

Nope. I’m not going in…

Some places we visit are also prepared. Like this… Just in case.

IMG_3024

In the car, we are usually prepared with some coffee.

IMG_3143

And my travel bowl for water.

Nope. I'm not going in...

Nope. I’m not going in…

Mom likes to be prepared. Her books are framed,

shadow boxes

and just to be ready – a couple of her favorite manuscripts are framed too. She’ll replace them with actual books as soon as book #2 or ebook #2 happen.

shadow boxes2She thinks a lot and plans a lot for the future. By thinking and planning I mean visualizing and hoping. When she talks about her writing future, she says “when” instead of “if” and always tells herself (and me), “This is it” when she submits something. Mom thinks it’s better to be prepared, positive, and hopeful than surprised, negative, and demoralized. Me too…

Prepared, positive, and hopeful...

Prepared, positive, and hopeful…