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

Posts tagged ‘children’s literature’

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now.”

Hugh Laurie

In case Mom’s weekly writing challenge isn’t challenging enough this month, her writing group named LindaVijiConnieLaurieJenandOtherJen is also having a June Challenge. Everybody in the group is working on a new (or old) story and posting new versions each week for everybody to look at and share about. Ready or not!

Mom had a new story already started with 2 pathetic sentences. Two sentences! It sat there and sat there till the challenge. Now it is getting attention and making progress. It’s pretty lame, but it’s getting better.

Speaking of lame- I sniffed this gigantic, weird mushroom outside this weekend. I checked underneath it to see if any sprites or fairies lived there. They do not. It’s just a big, nasty mushroom – serving no purpose.

Mom thinks my street naps serve no purpose, but I say street naps warm me up.

Ditto my sidewalk naps,

grass naps,

and naps under cars.

I think learning new tricks serves no purpose, but Mom says tricks help my tiny brain stay sharp.

I smell Cheerios! How does this thing work?

So I bowl,

play Tic-Tac-Toe,

and ring my bell for cookies.

I guess purpose is relative. In Mom’s stories, her characters have to have purpose. So do their actions. Maybe they should take a street nap…

 

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”
~
W.C. Fields~

Sometimes it’s good to follow W.C.’s advice. Mom has been trying to teach me to play Tic-Tac-Toe, and it hasn’t been going well.

She tried it with Cheerios on the board,

no Cheerios in the board,

and treats on the board.

Every attempt ends with her calling me knucklehead, naughty, clueless, silly, and thickheaded.

So yes, we are about ready to quit. We may still play for fun, but Mom knows that like Fetch, I will never learn this game.

What…?

Mom has not yet succeeded in selling Book #2 or eBook #2. Nevertheless, she will NOT follow W.C.’s advice. She doesn’t write every day like she used to. Apparently, quarantine is too busy to fit in a writing hour on a regular basis.

But she still works on stories and poems. She writes them, reads them when her critique partners write them, revises them, and once in a while she submits them. Apparently, when you’re a writer, that’s what you do.

In Mom’s latest story, she is using facts about an insect. Facts! That is new in her writing life. Truth be told, facts are new in her real life, too. She makes things up a lot. But she is suddenly doing research and taking notes.

How long will this last? Will this story ever be finished? Will it ever get past 18 words? I can’t picture it, but we’ll see, I guess.

Blerg. It’s like she’s trying to learn Tic-Tac-Toe or something….

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Write like nobody’s watching because – nobody’s watching.”
~Dan Brown~

Nobody is ever watching when Mom works on a story. She watches the words come onto the screen and she tells them to herself out loud and then she plays around with them till they make a story. Nobody’s watching. Except me.

When she finishes her stories, her online critique friends will look at them and tell ideas to make them better. But even they don’t watch. They say what they say and Mom decides what to do in the end. Nobody’s watching. Except me.

All day long and for some of the night, too, I watch.

Sometimes, Mom says I am a creeper or a stalker.

Who? Me?

The truth is – SHE is the creeper. Now that we are quarantined and doing our part to stay home and flatten the curve, Mom has become obsessed with me.

She takes me for walks around the neighborhood,

homeschools me with my IQ Puzzle,

I smell Cheerios!

teaches me tricks,

Knock them down??? But you just put them up!

practices my skills with me,

Face-and-Paw-Bowling. Who needs a bowling ball?

and barely ever gives me a chance to breathe.

I for one will be more than happy when coronavirus goes away and Mom can get back to being busy and I can get back to nobody watching – except me.

Five Word Friday

It’s official! Mom has finished her 12th first draft of 2019.

Challenge complete. Of course the stories are very new and are nowhere near ready for primetime, but they’re done.

We chose 5 words from this month’s story.

16. Busy – Mom is busy a lot. She can be busy talking to friends, cleaning up, or “working” on her computer. I like to keep busy, too. I can be busy playing with my toys,

begging for food,

or exercising.

What a workout!

Sometimes, we’re busy together at the park

or walking around the neighborhood.

42. Kids – Kids are delicious. Usually they taste like gum or sweat or chicken nuggets. I see kids when Mom takes me to a school visit and when I work at the library.

Read it again!

9. Shoes – Sometimes I love shoes. I lick them, sniff them, and when I was little, I used to carry them around. Other times, I do NOT love shoes.

Embarrassing…

86. Teacher – Mom used to be a teacher.

Now she only has me to teach. She has discovered you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Meanwhile, it’s all on me to learn the stuff. #somuchresponsibility

 

357. Floor – Like kids, floors are also delicious. I like the floor a lot. Mom says, “Don’t lick it.” and “Stop being a weirdo.” and then when she’s cooking and she drops something, she’s all, “Oh, look, Cupcake. Here’s a treat for you. Clean up the floor like a good girl.” #makeupyourmind

What?

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mom is a big believer in this. She’s more of a writer than a waiter. Waiter? Wait. What? We need a waiter here…

Bacon and eggs, please.

Anyway, Mom jumps in and writes stuff every chance she gets – almost every day. Almost. Once a story gets into the computer, it’s fair game to be tweaked, tightened, talked through, and sadly – sometimes, tossed. But having a new story is always good, even if it comes to a tragic ending.

The 12×12 Challenge encourages her to write a lot. With a couple of months to go, she is in the middle of a couple of stories that may – for the record – become her November and December drafts. They won’t count if they’re only half finished, though, so she needs to get that faucet turned on and get that water flowing. I hope no puddles are left behind. Once, I almost stepped in a puddle. Almost.

Whoa. Close call…

I am not a fan of water. Bath day is not my idea of fun.

When I’m waiting for my conditioner to work, Mom says, “I don’t like it any more than you do.” and “You will smell so pretty.” and “NO! Don’t jump out of the tub!”

At the park, I like to go as close to the edge of the water as possible. NOT so close that I get my feet wet, though.

Mom says, “Not too close.” and “Stay by me.” and “If you fall in, you’re on your own.” So far, I haven’t fallen in, but as long as the water is flowing

and flying,

there’s always still a chance. #daringdoggie

 

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing at the airport waiting for a train.”

~unknown~

When you have to write a story a month, there is no time to wait – for a train, a plane, or an inspiration! Mom is 28 words into her June story for the 12×12 Challenge. OK. It’s not 228 or 428, but 28 is a start. Plus she is busy Mind Writing.

Whenever we are out walking she Mind Writes about her main character, his goals, his issues, his problem, and how she will increase tension and take the story where it needs to go. Also, when we are out walking – while she’s Mind Writing – she watches me like a hawk. She says, “Don’t eat from the ground.” and “Don’t go near the edge or you’ll fall in.”

and “Oh, $#%@! Not another street nap!” But of course it is.

It always is…

Mom’s June idea came from her list of Storystorm ideas.

It’s an old one, but caught her eye, got her thinking, and surprised her a little. It’s fun when that happens.

At the park, a duck caught my eye. I watched it swimming. Then it surprised me a little. It wasn’t even a duck. It was a cormorant! It dove deep, swam a long time, made a hundred splashes, came up with a fish in its mouth, and ATE IT in one gulp!

Not the actual cormorant.

Truth be told, I didn’t know whether to be happy for the cormorant, sad for the fish, or sorry for myself because once Mom shared her tuna sandwich with me, but it didn’t look like that was about to happen at all.

Not the actual tuna sandwich.

I’m glad I wasn’t standing at the airport waiting for a train when all that cormorant excitement happened. I think I’ll wait at the kitchen counter for some tuna now. Can’t hurt…

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words come from Mom’s April 12×12 story.

17. Mother – We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday. I am not allowed to go shopping, so I gave Mom kisses and cuddles instead of a gift.

I also put my bony head on her arm for a while. She said, “Patooie. Dog spit.” and “Ouch. I think my arm is paralyzed.” and “I love you, Cupcake, but please get off me!”

98. Skinny – When Mom first found me at the rescue named Purrs and Pups I was kind of skinny. Plus kind of naughty and kind of nervous with lots of bite marks on my head and some bugs in my belly. Mom had a lot to work on.

My Gotcha Day.

She fixed me up, just like she fixes up some of her stories that have bugs in their belly.

33. Dolls – I like to play with dolls. They’re actually more like stuffed (or unstuffed) animals, but I like them better than bones or tennis balls. I cuddle with them

and act like they’re my babies.

Plus sometimes I try to hatch them like eggs.

2. Running – I do running a lot. It’s for protection. Moving target and all that… Mom says, “These floors don’t stand a chance.” and “This is why we can’t have nice things.” And then she calls me the name of Psycho Crackpot.

 

146. Hiding – When running doesn’t work, I do hiding.

Stranger danger!

It also keeps me safe from scary things.

Mom is not hiding from her 12×12 Challenge this month. She started a new story for May and even though it’s not quite halfway through the month, she’s halfway through the story.

 

 

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!

 

 

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!

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words come from a story that Mom is revising this week.

6. Trash – I have always wished I could figure out how to get pizza crusts, eggshells, napkins, banana peels, and many other delicious things out of the garbage pail.

Let me in. I know there are chicken bones in there. Why am I so tiny?

I love trash! Mom doesn’t love trash, especially when one of her stories ends up in the trash bin on her computer. If she starts a story and then gets stuck, she sets it aside for a while, works on other things, and then goes back to it. If it still stinks and it’s still going nowhere, she trashes it and starts over.

If she put a little jelly on that trash, I’d help her out with that. Mmmmm. Jelly.

14. Flop – Mom reads tons of picture books. Some fly and some flop.

When she reads a flop, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back!” The weather is getting colder here, so I can’t take as many street naps as I did in the summer.

Even when it’s way too cold, I still flop down and give it a shot. Mom says, “If you’re wearing a sweater, it’s too cold to sit on the ground.” When I ignore her, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back.”

8. Outside – I love outside. There are squirrels, leaves, acorns, grass, and dog friends.

I also love inside. There are toys, treats, trash, my blankie, and Mom. Sometimes it’s tough to choose.

74. UsefulCritique groups are useful. Mom’s group called LindaVijiConnieJenandOtherJen help her get ideas, change ideas, and fix ideas that stink.

5. Sneakers – Mom wears sneakers, but they do not make her fast at all. When we walk down the hall at our house, she is so slow! I have to show her how to get us home (and out of the scary hallway) in a more efficient way.