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

Posts tagged ‘children’s literature’

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.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Worst and Best fascinate me. Sometimes just when I think I’m being the Best Girl, I discover to my shock and surprise that I am not.

Best Girl helping with laundry

Best Girl looking at Mom

Best Girl not taking a street nap in the dumpster slime

Best Girl getting her exercise

People say all writers have an inner critic telling them their work stinks, they’re wasting their time, nothing they do is  good enough, and they’re straight-up frauds. I don’t have one of those critics in my head. Neither does Mom. I think I learned it from her! When she reads over one of her stories, she’s all, “SO CUTE!” and “I love this thing.” and “Quit staring at me when I’m eating.”

I’m not staring at you. You’re staring at me.

Mom relies on her critique group and RYS and agents and editors to tell her she may not be quite the best. Sometimes, they say nothing. #’nuffsaid. Sometimes they say, “Not what we’re looking for.” or “Fix this. Change that. What about this?”

I rely on Mom to tell me I may not be quite the best.

“Stay away from the edge.”

“Heel!”

“Get off the bed.”

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

We are not what we think, or what we say, or how we feel. We are what we do.

~Gordon Livingston~

Nailed it, Livingston! What we do matters – waaaay more than all that other stuff.

So when Mom sits down and writes something new or fixes something old or submits something she likes or works with her critique group named LindaVijiJenConnieandOtherJen, she is a straight-up writer.

Me being a straight-up writer.

Sometimes, she sits on the balcony and reads her Kindle.

Sometimes, we go to the park.

Sometimes, she teaches me tricks.

Sit up.

Find the cookie.

Not really a trick, but I just really want to come inside.

Sometimes, we play.

Sometimes, we work as a therapy team.

Did somebody say eggs? And ham?! Yes, please…

Sometimes, we shop.

Sometimes, she leaves me alone like a dog, and reads books at the bookstore which I’m pretty sure is a hop, skip, and a jump from stealing.

Is she a writer then? Well, not a straight-up writer, but still a writer. She says, “I’m getting ideas” and “I need to keep it fresh” and “Staying current is important” and “I’m mind-writing” and “Let’s get moving, weirdo. We’re burning daylight, here!”

*sigh*

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words were taken from Mom’s newest story. The story is finished, but not finished. It’s resting until she opens it again to change things – especially the ending. Mom likes when her stories end with a laugh or a gasp or a smile

or an unexpected pop. When she tucked this one away, the ending was more of a fizzle. Not cool.

Z-z-z-z-z-z…..

16. Wiggle – Stories usually wiggle around from place to place to keep the reader guessing. I usually wiggle around soaking up the street heat and getting dirt into my furs.

42. Giggle – Ending a story with a giggle is always a goal for Mom. Sometimes it takes a few tries or a little advice from her critique partners. I don’t giggle, but I am pretty good at making people smile.

9. Color – Stories should have color: colorful characters, colorful language, colorful pictures, and a long colorful life in the hands of children. Since we have lots of color in our home

and our lives,

Mom hopes to transfer that color to her work every day.

82. Sun – I love sunshine. It makes me feel like taking a street nap,

hitting the park,

or just basking.

5. Broom and dustpan – Because of my white furs, and apparently my spitting, drooling, sneezing, and floor-licking, Mom uses her broom and dustpan a lot. Also her microfiber mop, Swiffer Sweeper, big vacuum, small vacuum, Swiffer Duster, sponge mop, dustcloths, and Mr.Clean Magic Eraser.

Filthy??? Who? Me?

She thinks I have a problem. I think she has a problem.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

~Ray Bradbury~

Thinking is SO overrated. I avoid it at all costs. Mom asks me “What were you thinking?” all the time. I try to tell her, “Nuthin'” but I’m not sure she understands. What is she thinking I’m thinking? She needs to stop thinking.

Captured under a walker?

Nuthin’…

Head caught in a shopping bag?

Nuthin’…

Squished under a chair?

Nuthin’…

Too close to the edge?

Nuthin’…

It’s really pretty simple, actually. Don’t think. Just do.

Mom is doing things these days, too. Just doing. Not thinking. She’s partway through a new story and partway through a new poem. And she submitted a couple of things last week, too. She found them in the computer, fixed them up all shiny and new and sent them on their way out into the world for people to judge. She will do the same when she gets to the end of her latest story and poem. First she will make sure there’s enough conflict and a surprise ending twist. Then off they go. Not thinking is fun.

Except when you head face first into the sticker bush by the lake….

Ouch. Not fun…

 

 

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are from one of the stories Mom has been working on these days, while I sit around staring at her or playing by myself like an animal.

9. Vacation – Mom and I do not go on vacation very often, but when we do, I like being the hotel doggie. Everyone is excited to see me walking through the lobby and hallways. Plus it’s exciting to sleep in a new bed.

When you’re a writer, there is no vacation from “work.” Mom’s work is listening to conversations, watching things that happen around her, getting fun ideas, and reading stories.

“Work.” *snort*

54. Shiny – Our apartment is shiny and new. The sunshine is shiny every morning in our balcony door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the shiny floor is covered with so much dog hair Mom says it looks like a rug. Is that bad? Rugs are nice…

Mom polishes up her stories before she sends them anywhere. Stories should be shiny before anybody sees (judges) them.

47. Trees – Trees are meant to be climbed. Squirrels live up there. I have tried many times to climb a tree. No luck. Mom says, “A story is like a tree.” and “It needs solid roots to grow up tall and strong.” and then she calls me the nickname of Doofus.

2. Door – Mom wishes the door would open and somebody would let in one of her stories. Till that happens, she will keep on knocking. Once my tail got caught in the door and a little piece of it broke off and fell onto the living room floor. (insert Mom’s freak-out here)

I had surgery and wore bandages for a LONG time. Now my tail is fine, but a little shorter. Plus I still hesitate all the time and  don’t rush my tail through the doorway because apparently I “have learned NOTHING from that experience.”

16. Peek – I watch Mom all day long. Sometimes I flat out stare at her,

Hullo…

and sometimes, I just take a peek to see what she’s up to.

She complains that I look at her all day, but how would she know that… unless SHE looks at ME all day!?

Waiting

It’s tough to wait. Waiting to have time to write, waiting to get an idea, waiting to hear what the characters want to do, waiting for a story to be finished – They’re all tough.

Waiting for a response from a publisher or an agent – also tough. But Mom does it. All writers do.

Sometimes she waits by reading picture books at home. Sometimes, she visits the bookstore.

She talks to kids and listens to kids. She does work with her critique group online. And of course, she watches TV. That’s a great waiting activity – especially this time of year.

Mom always has the choice of playing with me while she waits. I like practicing my tricks and walking around the neighborhood

and napping.

And of course, I watch TV. And I watch Mom watch TV.

Fascinating!

For the next couple of weeks I will be waiting in overdrive. Waiting for Santa!

I hope he brings treats and toys and maybe a new dress for me. I’m sure most of my furfriends and humanfriends are also waiting for Christmas. And if The Big Guy brings an opportunity for Mom, that would be good, too. Either way, the working and playing and talking and listening and practicing and napping and watching and waiting will continue…

C’mon, Santa!

Birthday

I wish (for Mom’s sake) that this was a post about a Book Birthday. It’s been flat-out ages since we’ve had one.But it’s not. She’s still a writer, though. She gets ideas, writes brand new stories, fixes up ratty old stories, works with her critique group, submits stories to publishers, agents, and Rate Your Story, and does author visits at schools. That’s pretty much what writers do, so there’s that.

The birthday today, is MINE. Actually, I’m counting this whole week as my birthday week. On September 25th, I turned 11 years old. I got to wear my birthday balloon/cupcake dress,

and got a new stuffed bunny with FIVE squeakers.

Mom enjoys it a lot and says the word, “Look at the cute bunny!” and “Do you like your new toy?” and “Stop it! SHUT THAT THING UP!” That’s good… Right…? She likes it so much that sometimes she threatens to throw it in the garbage. Wait. What?

Also, there was cake – whipped cream, strawberries, custard, the whole 9 yards.

For my birthday road trip, we went for a ride to the reservoir where I had a staring contest with a baby turtle, and met lots of people who petted me and said I was cute.

Get serious, turtle. I have never lost a staredown.

For Mom’s birthday writing time, she revised an old story about a birthday party gone wrong. She said that maybe my birthday will bring it some good luck.

I could use some luck, here, right about now…

My birthday has been so amazing that I’m planning to turn 11 again next year! Plus, when I blew out my candle (I think Mom did the actual blowing because the flame scared me), I wished for a Book Birthday real soon.

Nom, nom, nom…

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

Buddha

Ideas are funny. They pop up and drift away in an instant. Mom captures them as best she can by typing them into her phone. At writing time, if she’s not in the middle of a piece of work, she checks that phone list and picks an idea or two to start working on. She mixes and matches and puts things together to make a fun bundle-up of ideas. She gets ideas from being around kids, listening to conversations, looking at blogs, watching TV, reading picture books, walking around the complex, and taking me to the park.

I get a lot of ideas, too. Some of my favorites are…

Ride the baby swing.

Play the piano with my face.

Investigate the soccer net.

Eat my coat.

Hesitate a few seconds too long in the doorway so the door slams on my tail and a piece of it breaks off.

Taste the new shrubs.

Kill my toy monkey who’s been asking for it lately.

I would like to remember my ideas, but I don’t have a phone to list them. Plus Mom says the word, “Forget it” a lot, so I guess she doesn’t want me to remember them in a list like hers. I get my ideas from snoozing,

napping

dozing,dreaming,

and walking in the park.

 Buddha has the right idea about ideas. Having them is just the beginning. The fun comes when you put them into action.

Dinner…?