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

Posts tagged ‘children’s literature’

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…?

 

 

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.