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

Posts tagged ‘children’s literature’

Two Sides

face2

My face is two different colors. Three actually, but down by my nose there’s a brown side and a white side.

face

They’re as different as different can be, right down to the whiskers. White on the white side…

white

…and black on the brown side.

black2

 

Mom’s writing has two different sides lately, too. Poetry and prose. She worked and worked on a story and kept getting stuck. She worked on other things, came back to the story, and got stuck again. And again.

debris-clipart-science_mudslides

Today, she decided to take that stuck story idea and make it into a poem. As different as can be, but she’s not stuck anymore.

hike6

Let’s go!

Sometimes in hiking, there’s a special mark saying that the path splits.

turn

We’re careful to choose the right path. Usually it’s pretty easy to tell.

No...

No…

Yes...

Clear sailing…

For Mom, the correct path seems to be the poem for now. Clear sailing.

sailing

 

 

Starting Out

Spring is finally starting out around here. And by finally, I mean FINALLY!!

petals

Grass seeds are planted.

seeds

Flowerpots are hung.

sunny susy

Blossoms are popping out.

bud

And it suddenly got so warm out that I had to take a street nap under a truck.

underthetruck

Every couple of weeks, Mom starts out writing a new story. The start is important. It has to grab, grip, introduce a character, present a problem…

problems-3…state a situation, prepare, pop, draw in, jump out, and kick off – all in a few sentences.

once upon

Without a solid start, the story would be like a room without a floor. And what good is a room without a floor?

floor nap

Where would I nap? Where would my squirrels land? Where would my bed rest? Where would the peanut butter-bacon cookie crumbs wait for me to find them?

bed6

Back off the treats, squirrel!

Back off the treats, squirrel!

Mom says, “A good opening makes the rest of the story easier to write.” and “I have to start strong.” and “Don’t lick the floor!”

floor licker

 

 

Going and Staying

Mom has been going out a lot lately. And I have been staying home a lot.

....bye...

….bye…

Last week, she visited her old school for Career Day.

career-day-welcome-page

nurse

She talked to thirty 2nd graders about being an author. They liked when she said she went to work in her pajamas.

Author in PJs

They laughed when she said she wishes she could tear up each rejection letter, jump up and down on it, run to her room, and slam the door. They said, “Eeeewwww” when she told them ideas are everywhere, and if they see a dead squirrel squished in the street, they can write a story about it.

squirrel

Wait. What?

A bunch of the kids said they like to write stories and may want to be authors when they grow up.

writing

This week, Mom visited a 5th grade class in a different school to talk about being an author.

...bye... SERIOUSLY??

Again? SERIOUSLY??

She told them about the pajamas and the rejections and the squished-squirrel stories.

 

hawthorne3

Mom also told them how their teacher used to be her student and how she brought a praying mantis egg case to class and how it HATCHED in their classroom and how hundreds of mantis babies overran the library corner and how Mom had nightmares for weeks.

mantis

Mom wrote a story about the classroom egg case and it was published in Humpty Dumpty Magazine. I guess that’s worth a few nightmares.

photo

I did not go to either one of the school visits, but I did have a few nightmares of my own.

sleeping2

They are named the LawnGuys, the Mailman, the FedExDude, and OutsideCats. I had some good dreams, too…

101 treats

Five Word Friday

5

Today’s five words are about reading. Writers do reading all the time – out loud, in their heads, on the Kindle, at the library, on the iPad…. ALL the time.

IMG_6397

Dogs do not.

IMG_4411

Push me!

 1. Picture Books – Mom reads 200 picture books a year. There’s usually a pile of library picture books on the piano bench at home and a pile of bookstore picture books on Mom’s table at Barnes and Noble.

IMG_6465

2. Goodreads – Mom keeps track of the books she reads on her Goodreads Challenge.

2015 goodreads3. Drooling – Drooling on the books is “not cool.” But how can I help it? They smell delicious! …Like kids’ hands. And dirt. And gum.

IMG_6788

4. Writer’s Eye – When Mom reads, she tries to do it with a writer’s eye. She pays attention to what works, how it works, and why it works. She also notices what stinks, what’s boring, what’s dumb, what’s a waste of time, and what makes no sense. She hopes it’ll help her be a better writer.

IMG_6793

5. Studying – Yesterday, I studied some reading, which said the word, “No Barking.”

IMG_6783

I was exhausted from reading so hard, so I parked myself on the street for a quick nap. Mom said, “I guess you just can’t read. Can you?”

Well, I'm not barking. Am I?

Of course I can read – I’m not barking. Am I?

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

~Garth Stein~

Writers cannot be afraid to lose. Rejection is part of the game plan. Rejections happen so that a writer’s work can improve. Rejections are also the path to finding the right home for a piece of writing. Rejection = wrong home. Acceptance = right home. (That goes for shelter dogs too! Just sayin’.)

My first day at my forever home.

My first day at my forever home.

Mom is not afraid. I mean, yes – she’s afraid of bugs. And spiders. And the dark. And germs. And Chinese restaurants (long story). And earthworms (don’t ask). But when it comes to being an author, NOTHING scares her.

Last week, she did a different kind of author visit. She was a guest at Disability Awareness Day. She talked to over 200 kids – a group at a time – at her table.

table

They also touched the pages of Mom’s book in Braille, typed their names into the iPad to see how they look in Braille, solved puzzles, tested their sense of touch with the objects in Mom’s Touch Box , and walked with their eyes closed using the cane to feel their way around.

Type your name at Braillebug.

Type your name at BrailleBug.

Mom signed books for a bunch of kids, teachers, and parents.

signing2

It was a LOT of fun. Plus a LOT of talking, so Mom needed some tea with honey and a few gingersnaps when she got home. And yes – she shared a gingersnap with me!

cookie

Last month, Mom tried to take me hiking. Talk about a losing proposition. The trail we tried was icy, muddy, overgrown, and STEEP. But did that scare us away? ….Yes!

yikes

…But not for long. Today we tried again – on a different trail.

log dog

It was sunny, well-marked, flat, clear, and wide. We didn’t win any races, but we are in the game. And not afraid to lose.

Hitchhiker butterfly - also in the game....

GAH! Hitchhiker butterfly – also in the game….

New

bitsnpieces

This is new. In case you don’t recognize it, it’s called sunshine. On my belly. And my face. And my bits and pieces.

hotcross

This is new, too. It’s a new treat for me to try. I only got a little piece (and no raisins!), but oooh it was yummy. It’s a hot cross bun – it was not hot and Mom ate the cross, but I got a hunk of the bun. Awesome.

hotcross2

Yes, please…

Here I am “working” with some old friends at the Veteran’s Home.

teacherdog

But I was really teaching someone new. A new friend will be joining Mom and me at work there soon. I was showing her the ropes. I can’t wait to work with the new therapy pet team!

Mom is doing something new this week, too. It’s a different kind of school visit. Usually, she reads her book and talks about being a writer.

school visit

But since her book is about a blind boy in a sighted classroom, this week, she’ll be attending an event called Disability Awareness Day.

Book #1

She’ll play games and talk to small groups of kids and help them understand how to be a friend to all kinds of differently-abled people.

Mom said, “This will be fun.” and “I love a new experience.” and “BEHAVE while I’m gone!”

trouble1

trouble2

…. Don’t I always?

All of her supplies are packed up and ready to go.

supplies

She named them Keep-Away and Do-Not-Touch. I call them…

foundabear

Hey-Wait-a-Minute-There’s-a-Teddy-Bear-in-Here!

foundabear2

 

Countdown Wednesday

calendar

Today, we are counting down about Unexpected Surprises

Unexpected Surprises for Mom

3. Rejection – Two of Mom’s stories were rejected last week. They have been rejected before, so why is it unexpected? For some reason, Mom is ALWAYS surprised when she gets a rejection. That’s because she only sends out things she really likes and has really worked on for a long time – by herself and with other people. And she only sends them to places and people who seem to like work like hers. Oh well.

Surprise!

Surprise!

2. Snow – The first day of spring brought snow. Twelve hours of it. It was gloppy and wet, but snow nevertheless.

snowytree

1. What if…? – Stories need unexpected surprises to keep the reader off balance. One good way to decide on a twist is to ask the question, “What if…?” and make up crazy scenarios to throw a monkey wrench into the story. Monkey wrenches are good. Monkey toys are good, too.

monkey toy

Unexpected Surprises for Me

3. Snow – I wore my paw boots in the surprise snow. Mom said, “Hold still.” and, “Put your foot in.”

boots on

and “This is the LAST TIME we’re putting these on till next winter! …I hope.”

bootsplaid

2. Gifts from the plow guys – When the snow started to melt, surprises came out of the snow plow mountains – candy wrappers, tissues, cigarette butts, dirt clods, and water bottles… all kinds of goodies! Thanks snow plow guys!

snow surprises

72. Street Nap – I was halfway to my first street nap of the season, but Mom stopped me. She said the word, “Don’t you dare.” and “It’s 25 degrees! The ground is freezing!” and “The wind is blowing your ear upside down.”

flyingear

1. New clothes – Mom surprised me with a new spring dress from Fetch Dog Fashions. I think orange is my color.

flintstone sitting

I think Pebbles Flintstone is my look. And tutu skirts are my style.

flintstone standing

No surprise there….

 

 

 

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