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

Posts tagged ‘literature’

Countdown Wednesday

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Today we are counting down things we believe.

Things Mom Believes

35. Writing is a tough job. Being a teacher was a tough job, too. And so is being a college supervisor…. The bottom line is – I guess all jobs are tough. That’s why they’re called work and not a party.

THIS is a party!

THIS is a party!

 2. Book 2 and/or e-Book 2 will happen eventually. Learning her craft, writing a lot, reading a lot, and submitting sometimes is what writers do. Getting rejected a lot is also what writers do. So, Mom is doing what writers do. Mission accomplished.

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16. Author visits are fun. Mom has 2 school visits scheduled in the next few weeks. She believes they are one of the best parts of being an author. She will talk, read, ask and answer questions, and play games. Author visits are not my favorite.

...bye... SERIOUSLY??

…bye… SERIOUSLY??

Things I Believe

6. Watching The Puppy Bowl is a tough job.

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I am sure I could’ve made a hundred touchdowns, spiked the ball, the pig, the monkey, and the rubber chicken, and done the victory dance like crazy. If only I could figure out how to get inside the TV.

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Hullo…?

21. Read to a Pet Night will happen eventually. All I need to do is look cute, wait for Mom to get ready,

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be a good girl on my ParkIt Mat, and soon the kids will come and read to me.

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Mission accomplished.

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3. Snow is fun. I like walking and running in the snow, as long as it doesn’t touch my belly. Sometimes the snow gets crazy and blows my ears out like wings and makes my eyes get all squinchy. Slightly less fun, but aside from street nap weather, snow is my next favorite.

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

William Somerset Maugham

First of all, I love this guy. How could I not? His name is W. Somerset Mom. And just like Mom, he talks about rules. Mom has a lot of rules for me. Here are the top three:

14. Keep off the bed after it’s made.

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6. Always put the toys back in the toy box.

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97. Don’t eat garbage.

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Somethin’ smells good…

3. No begging.

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Mom doesn’t know the novel rules any better than Maugham does. Ditto the picture book rules.

books

I mean she knows there needs to be a great opening, unpredictable characters, conflict, voice, rising action, increasing obstacles, excitement, humor, emotion, lyrical language, plot twists, surprises, and of course a satisfying ending.

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Sometimes, when she reads picture books – which she does A LOT,

books3she says the word, “What? There’s no conflict here.” and “Aargh. That was SO predictable.” and “Get off the bed!”

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and “Ugh. Worst ending ever.” and “Meh.” and “Don’t even think about it!”

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So apparently, there are rules and there is reality. It’s tough to know what an editor will like. It’s much easier to know what Mom will like.

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What?

Five Word Friday

five5Today’s five words are about prizes.

3. Winner – Mom was one of a bunch of winners in a giveaway on Tara Lazar’s blog. She won the opportunity to have an agent look at her work. That’s a pretty huge jump out of the slush pile.

slush-pile

18. Slush – Once I played in snow and slush and it about froze my tiny paws to icicles.

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Mom decided I would be safer with boots on my paws. Wrong. Just really wrong on so many levels.

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6. Looking – Mom is excited that an agent will be looking at one of her new stories. I am always excited to be looking at something new. New things can be outdoors…

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Hairbrush? Seriously???

…or indoors. But they’re always fun.

christmas-shopping

127. Entering – Mom and I enter lots and lots of contests, competitions, and giveaways. Mostly, we don’t win, but now and then we do. Once we won a box full of cat toys. It was fun to win, but we donated the toys back to a kitty who could use them. I don’t really need any toys…

toys5. Gratitude – We are grateful that Mom won this lucky prize. Gratitude is a big part of every day, but this is a special week for giving thanks.

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I have a ton to be grateful for – like treats,

101 treatslove,

kisshead

my furever home,

My first 5 minutes at my new home.

The first 5 minutes at my new home. #occupythecouch

walks,

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and naps.

street nap2And did I say naps?

green dress sleeping

Characters

Writers pretend a lot. Mom deals with pretend characters every time she sits at the computer. Characters can be tough to pin down. Just when Mom thinks she knows them, they take off in directions she didn’t expect. They can go caveman,

cavedog

nurturer,

nurse

superhero,

costume

evil,

devil

or sweet.

fairy

I can also go off in unexpected directions. I can go lazy,

belly-up-streetnap

friendly,

cupcake-and-gracie

relaxed,

bench-relaxing

happy,

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confused,

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or annoyed.

Why?

Why?

Mom keeps me on a leash everywhere we go, so I won’t go off and get lost. She does her best to keep me under control. Even though I am unpredictable, she does a better job with me than she does with her story characters.

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Busy Working Hard

Mom and I have been working hard.

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Mom is working hard on two new stories, as usual.

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What’s so difficult about this?

She writes a little bit of each one each day. When she gets to the end of them, she will put them away for a while and then revise the heck out of them to make them tight with no extra words. She will make sure they open with action and end with a twist. She will try to show and not tell. She will move the characters from place to place and keep the action coming so they aren’t talking heads.

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Then she will send her favorite one of them to her critique group friends to see what else she needs to work on.

I have been working hard too –  at the library…

img_3765…and at the veteran’s home.

fullsizerenderI have dressed up, listened to stories, sat on laps,

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and given kisses. If you don’t think that’s hard work, think again. Sometimes I can barely stay awake on the ride home.

sleeping-in-the-carBesides my therapy work, I have begged for coffee. And it paid off.

img_3779I begged for a pancake on my 10th birthday. And got one of my very own.

img_3731I even fought the dreaded soccer net. Again. And won (with some help from Mom).

img_3776It’s a good thing I am a ball of energy…

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sleep

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Five Word Friday

five

Today’s 5 words are about A-Little-At-A-Time.

8. List – Mom is making a list of the things she will submit this month. She is determined to get 10 stories on the list, and then she will decide where to send them. So far the list has NINE titles! Day by day – story by story – a little at a time – almost there.

woman-making-list

17. WetFeet – I don’t like getting my feet wet. When Mom takes me out to check my pee-mail she says the word, “Why am I standing in the wet grass and you are not?” and “I am NOT the one out here to go potty.”

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and “Get off the balance beam, Marylou.”

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Eventually, I inch into the wet grass, little by little, and take care of business. I’m not happy about it.

26. Walking – Getting from the garage to the house can be slow-going. I stop to sniff. I smell the flowers.

smelling flowers

I check the bricks. I hit the pavement.

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I stare at the air. Eventually, we arrive. Mom says the word, “Why do I take you anywhere?”

84. One – Last week, Mom got her first ever #1 from Rate Your Story. On a scale of 1-10, #1 is the best! Mom has received the occasional #2 rating, but usually, her work is a #4. We’re excited that she clawed her way to a #1 – little by little.

#15. Begging – Every day, I work on Mom… From here…

begging right

And here…

begging left

And even here…

begging LRCan you tell I am begging for ice cream? I think it’s pretty clear. She mixed up a batch of my special yogurt/peanut butter/applesauce/MilkBone frozen treats. And apparently, I can only eat one a day. GAH!

ice cream treatThey’re so yummy, it’s tough to eat them a little at a time. I lick and lick…

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…and lick.

icecream3And then I lose my mind and gobble the whole thing down. The ice cream headache is worth it!

Yum. Ouch...

Yum. Ouch…

Countdown Wednesday

calendarToday, Mom and I are counting down about finishing.

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Things I Finish

3. Eating – I always finish my morning dinner and my evening dinner. Usually in about 45 seconds.

dinner

2. Playing – It’s easy to tell when I am finished playing. I stop tossing, biting, shaking, throwing, and catching my toys. Then I flop down and give Mom the skunk-eye.

fave toys

1. School – I studied hard at obedience school when Mom first adopted me. I am a brilliant graduate of Hal Wheeler.

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I also passed the CGC testing in order to become a therapy pet.

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I know Mom is proud of me because she says I ‘have my moments’ and I’m ‘unpredictable.’ That’s good…. Right…?

stuck under the walker

“Under the walker…. next to the walker… Whatever… Same thing.”

Things Mom Finishes

3. Eating – I can always tell when Mom is finished eating. Usually there’s ice cream or cookies or cake.

rainbow cake

I know sharing is caring. And I know Mom loves me. But she doesn’t always share.

"Hello."

“Hello.”

2. Working – When Mom “works,” she writes, revises, revises, revises, revises, and …revises. Sooner or later, she has to say, “I’m finished.” and “There’s nothing else I can do here.” and “What do you plan to do with that?”

flip flop

“Eat it? Hide it? Take it on the couch and hatch it like an egg? The possibilities are endless….”

1. School – Mom is finished with being a teacher.

teacher at desk

She retired from that work in 2007. Now she is finished with school visits – for the summer, anyway. We are also finished with library therapy dog visits for the summer. Read to a Pet Night will start up again in September.

reading dog

27. And yes, when enough is enough, I make it clear that I am finished walking….

potato dog