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

Posts tagged ‘children’s literature’

Not What It Seems

In the three months we’ve lived in our new apartment, Mom and I have seen lots of deer,

a million birds, a ton of chipmunks, a spider, a bee,

*not the actual bee*

and three dead snakes.

*actual snake corpse*

Once I was in the dog park and there was a little brown dog in there with me. I wanted to play with him, but he kept ignoring me. When I sniffed him, he smelled like laundry detergent. Mom said, “Get it!” and “Fetch it!” and “Ugh. Why do I bother?”

What’s up with this guy?

This week, we ALMOST saw another dead snake, but then when we got closer, it was a shoelace.

Things are not always what they seem!

Recently, Mom got a critique of one of her stories.

The main suggestion was to “try putting some humor in.” GAH! She already thought there WAS humor in there!

Surprise! To her, it seemed funny, but it wasn’t what it seemed. Oh well. At least she knows what to work on.

First she will head to the library to read some of the books suggested to see the kind of humor she SHOULD have had in her story. Hopefully, she will be able to add in or switch out some of the events with the right humor that really IS what it seems.

Plus if we see another dead snake, I plan to roll on it and smear his guts all over my furs and smear my furs all over his guts. If I’m quick enough I may be able to pull it off this time. …unless it’s another shoelace.

*actual shoelace* Bummer…

 

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Education is learning what you didn’t know you didn’t know.”
~Daniel Boorstin~

I’m pretty sure Mom doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. That’s probably because she thinks she knows everything. At least that’s how she acts sometimes!

Recently she signed herself up for a webinar called Picture Books in Focus, so I think she’s ready to learn something new. Ugh. Now she’ll REALLY think she knows it all! She says she’s hoping to learn how to focus and structure her stories better. Maya Angelou says, “When you know better you do better.” So, I guess that’s what Mom is after, because who doesn’t want to do better?!

I ALWAYS learn new things. Mostly because I forget what I knew yesterday. I can sit

and stay

and come and lie down and roll over.

I can beg

and high five and give my paw and dance.

I also knock down bowling pins

and pyramids of paper cups

and sniff out hidden dental treats when Mom says, “Find it.”

Found it!

In case I accidentally forget one of my tricks,

Mom practices it with me till I remember.

….or not…

Two tricks I don’t know and can’t seem to learn are fetch and hide and seek. When Mom hides from me, she stands there quietly like an idiot and I never bother looking for her. I just wait till she gets bored and comes out on her own. When she tells me to fetch something, I usually bring it on the couch and try to hatch it like an egg.

I wonder if there’s a webinar for that!

 

 

Countdown Wednesday

Today, Mom and I are counting down about favorites.

My Favorites

3. Eating is my favorite activity. Sometimes, Mom adds chicken pieces to my kibbles. Sometimes, she puts in some carrots or green beans. If she gives me plain kibbles, I look at her like…

Seriously??

Plain kibbles are not OK.

That’s more like it!

2. My favorite place to sleep is in Mom’s bed. I am very cuddly in that thing. Plus, I like to stay under the covers. Waaaay under the covers.

1. My favorite toy is….

Um…. GAH! I love them all!

Mom’s Favorites

3. Morning is Mom’s favorite time to work on writing stories. She dreamed that she would do all her writing in her pajamas,

but she can’t manage it. She flies out of bed and dives into the shower at the crack of dark, and then gets dressed so we can go for a walk.

2. Mom loves both her published stories – her print book –

and her eBook –

but her favorite pre-published books are named Ballet Secret and Cupcake Learns. She always wants one of them to become the elusive Book#2. So far… Nope.

1. Mom’s favorite part of being an author is school visits. She loves reading stories to kids and talking to them about writing and being an author. Sometime soon, I plan to go to school with her…

Backpack, books, apple for the teacher… I’m ready!

 

Mess

Mom’s latest story is pretty much of a mess.

It’s shifting focus all over the place, getting longer, but going nowhere, and Martin is stuck in the basement with no suspense, no crisis, no obstacles, no nuthin’. AND some of the secondary characters are trying to take over Martin’s spot as star of the book. Not cool. Mom will move on to a new story on Monday. Bye, Martin. We’ll see you around the neighborhood. Another time. Maybe.

Messes happen. Nobody knows that better than I do. I’ve been a mess-making champion from way back.

In the morning, after my walk, I take a crazy fit and play with toys and run and zoom and slide all over the place.

*sigh* That was fun…

In the afternoon, I get a special treat, and it’s so delicious that I lick and lick and lick the spot where it was until there’s a wet spot on the floor that’s 92 times bigger than the treat.

After dinner, I make myself comfy on the couch for some TV. Most times, I have to rearrange the cover that Mom has to protect the material from my furs and nails.

Mom says, “Cover.” I say, “Uncover.”

When messes happen, there’s only one thing to do. Clean them up!

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Making changes is something writers have to do – whether they like it or not.

Mom is one of those writers who does NOT like it. But she does it. Sometimes, she gets a story scored by Rate Your Story, sometimes, her online critique group suggests the changes, and sometimes, she gets a flat out rejection and knows changes have to be made.

She reads and rereads her story. She asks questions like, “Will illustrations enhance the story?” and “Is the sequence of the plot events logical?” and “Do the obstacles increase through the story to a critical level that seems hopeless?” and “Are you licking your tail bandage?” Changes are made based on the answers to those questions. Mostly the answers are,  “Yes. Yes. No. And Who? Me?.”

Obstacles have been an issue for Mom. She is aware of it and is working on doing better. Licking my tail bandage has been an issue for me. I am aware of it, and when my bandage is off, I will stop – not right away, but as soon as I taste what’s left of my post-surgery tail.

What just happened…?

Story changes and bandage changes are not the only changes around here. Next week, we will move to a new apartment. Mom and I have visited the new place,

brought some of our things there,

got some new things delivered,

and we have played there a lot.

Our illustrations are just iPhone photos,

the sequence of the moving steps seems logical,

and we are sure there will be no obstacles, and nothing critical or hopeless.

I’m hopeful I’ll spend a lot of time right here…

Thanks, Socrates. We are focused on “building the new.” New story improvements, new tail sizes, and a new home.

Unexpected Things

Rate Your Story Rating Scale:
10 – Consider this story as practice.
9 – This story is best saved for reading to your family.
8 – If at first you don’t succeed…rewrite, rewrite again.
7 – Your idea has merit, but the story needs a lot of revision.
6 – Not bad, but doesn’t stand out.
5 – Better than average, but still needs work.
4 – A decent story. Could be great with a few revisions.
3 – Good story! Get a critique or two and polish before submitting.
2 – A very good story with the potential to be outstanding! Nearly submission-ready!
1 – Great story! You should consider submitting this!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Usually, things go just as you expect them to go. When Mom sends her work to Rate Your Story, lots of times it gets rated a 4 or a 5.

But unexpected things happen all the time. Recently, one of her stories was rated a 2.

Also, recently, one of her stories was rated a 7. Mom works equally as hard on each of them, and feels equally good when she sends them in, but there’s no way to know what clicks and what clunks.

Speaking of clunking, the front door at my house where I have lived for the past 7 years clunks shut on its own every time Mom and I go into or out of it. We expect the clunk and usually things go as we expect them to go.

But unexpected things happen all the time. Last week, I unexpectedly hesitated in the doorway, and the door clunked shut ON MY TAIL. I screamed and pulled it free, but the last little bit of my long, monkey tail didn’t make it out. It was left behind on the living room floor!

Yikes!

When Mom gets her scores, she looks carefully at what went wrong and fixes the story up. There are little changes like tweaking the opening to make the conflict clearer. And big changes like changing the entire point of view of the story. Whatever she does, the story is never the same again.

Doctors looked at what was left of my tail and decided how to fix it up. I slept peacefully through my surgery, and have been sporting a series of adorable bandages…

and the cone of courage.

This week, my stitches will be removed and I will be back to my old self. But my tail will never be the same again.

*sigh* Good times….

Soon, we will move to our new house. And yes, as I expected, that door also clunks shut on its own.

I’ll just wait right here. Thank you very much.

 

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.