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

Posts tagged ‘reading’

Countdown Wednesday


It’s back to school time around here. For 52 years of her life, Mom went back to school in September – sometimes as a student and sometimes as a teacher. Today we’re counting down about back to school.

back to school

My Back to School Countdown

3. Sleep – A good night’s sleep will make a better learner.

night night

So does a good morning’s sleep and a good afternoon’s sleep

raccoon nap

and a good floor sleep and a good street sleep.

street nap 92

I must be the best learner in the world!

2. Friends – When school starts I get to see lots of friends at the library. I am well-behaved and don’t knock over any chairs or bump any tables. I don’t lick the books or the kids’ shoes while they’re reading to me. …Actually I do all of those things, but just a little bit.

iselin library

1. School Visits – Once in while, one of Mom’s teacher friends tells her to bring me to school to play with the kids for a while. That is my dream come true.


Mom’s Back to School Countdown

3. School Visits – Mom loves visiting kids at school to show her PowerPoint, talk about being an author, and read her books to them. She says it’s the best part of being an author. Bar none.


2. Friends – Now that she’s not a teacher anymore, Mom and a few of her retired teacher friends go out to breakfast on the first day of school and enjoy drinking lots of coffee and talking instead of working.


1. Fear – Mom had a raging case of school phobia when she was in kindergarten. She cried and begged her mother every single day to let her stay home – not for the first few days, but EVERY SINGLE DAY from the first day of school in September till the last day of school in June. That might explain why she writes about being afraid so often. She has a million stories about fear in her computer. It’s apparently her favorite topic.

Luckily, I am much more courageous than she was….

Uh-oh! Pumpkin demons...

Uh-oh! Pumpkin demons… Help me.


GAH! It’s the deadly balloon of doom. *gulp*


Inspirational Quote of the Week


Mom does writing just about every day – but only for one hour. After one hour, her brain is fried, so she spends the rest of the day dreaming, talking, and wishing about writing. Also, she does mind-writing, watching and listening for ideas, reading picture books, and generally living her life.

On certain days she sends a story to Rate Your Story,


reads books and drinks coffee at Barnes and Noble,


and sometimes she submits stories to agents or publishers.


There are some things I do just about every day, too. I watch Mom watch TV,


This is fascinating…


snoopervise the hanging plants out front,


take a walk – or a hike,


and get my teeth brushed.


Also, I do street napping,

or grass napping....

or grass napping….

therapy dog work at the library


and VA,


and go to the park.


On certain days, I celebrate,


dress up,


and sometimes, I get hiccups.

Five Word Friday


Today’s five words are about reading. Writers do reading all the time – out loud, in their heads, on the Kindle, at the library, on the iPad…. ALL the time.


Dogs do not.


Push me!

 1. Picture Books – Mom reads 200 picture books a year. There’s usually a pile of library picture books on the piano bench at home and a pile of bookstore picture books on Mom’s table at Barnes and Noble.


2. Goodreads – Mom keeps track of the books she reads on her Goodreads Challenge.

2015 goodreads3. Drooling – Drooling on the books is “not cool.” But how can I help it? They smell delicious! …Like kids’ hands. And dirt. And gum.


4. Writer’s Eye – When Mom reads, she tries to do it with a writer’s eye. She pays attention to what works, how it works, and why it works. She also notices what stinks, what’s boring, what’s dumb, what’s a waste of time, and what makes no sense. She hopes it’ll help her be a better writer.


5. Studying – Yesterday, I studied some reading, which said the word, “No Barking.”


I was exhausted from reading so hard, so I parked myself on the street for a quick nap. Mom said, “I guess you just can’t read. Can you?”

Well, I'm not barking. Am I?

Of course I can read – I’m not barking. Am I?





Yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would’ve been 111 years old. That’s a lot of red fish and blue fish and a ton of hops on pops, and a million cats in a billion hats old.


Humans celebrate Dr. Seuss’s life by reading stories to little kids all over America on his birthday.

I can't read, but I'm celebrating my own way.

I can’t read, but I’m celebrating my own way.

Mom loves Dr. Seuss. And reading stories. And little kids. So she is on board with this. Yesterday, she left me alone while she read her ebook What If I Don’t? (MeeGenius, 2014) to some super cute kindergarten kids.

ebookcover with border

I was worried the whole time she was gone, because once when Mom visited a school, she was approached by a giant cat! In a giant hat!



Yesterday, she was only approached by one of her favorite teachers and giant bunch of kindergarten kids in giant hats.



Mom had fun reading and talking and laughing with the kids. They were great listeners and laughed at all the right times, gasped at all the right times, repeated some of the words from the story, and made funny faces whenever Mom asked them to.


They also answered a bunch of questions and asked a few of their own. Mom’s favorite question was, “Once I drew a picture of King Kong on the Empire State Building.” which isn’t actually a question, but it was fun anyway.

I waited at home and was mostly a good girl……

Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat

Dog in the Hat

Dog in the Hat

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mix a little foolishness with your prudence. It’s good to be silly at the right moment.


Mom likes to laugh. Mostly, she laughs at me. But she also laughs when she reads picture books.


She says, “GAH! That was hilarious!” and “Some stories are just SO funny.” and “It’s a bike rack. How can you possibly be afraid of a bike rack??”


Making humor in her books is part of Mom’s job. It’s important to make her readers laugh, while not looking like she’s trying too hard. …even though she’s really trying very, VERY hard. Mom says, “That’s what I call a smile.”

nail trim

and “I love a dog in a shopping cart.”


and “It’s always a delicate balance.”

Don't I know it!

Don’t I know it!

Some books that made Mom smile lately are: Gaston, Pardon Me, Monster Chefs, Shoe Dog, I Hatched, Zombie in Love, How to Babysit a Grandpa, Little Santa, and about a million others.

She also gets a giggle from me in my Halloween witch costume.

hatwitch headupwitch

And my tutu.


Did you laugh today?

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.

-Bruce Garrabrandt-

Moments matter – Every single one of them. I try to use each one wisely.




kissing vic






teddybear playing

And helping.

photo 2

This past weekend we lost 60 moments of sleep for daylight savings. Well, the humans did. I got those moments back in spades 60 times over.


Mom uses one hour of moments each day for work. And by work I mean she sits there and types on the computer and talks out loud to herself. Sometimes the Creativity visits her during that hour. I love visitors. I’m not sure I’ve ever met the Creativity Visitor, though. Maybe tomorrow…..


If the Creativity doesn’t visit at that exact work time, Mom still works. Each month, she makes a new story and fixes up an old story (or two or three) for her 12×12 Challenge. She also reads books about writing books, and reads books like the books she writes. Wait. What?


Writing time is not for blogs, not for Facebook, not for email, not for Words With Friends, and not even for TV.

photo 3

It’s just working on stories in one way or another – writing them, reading them, fixing them, thinking about them, submitting them to agents and publishers, and giving me cuddles and treats…. (See what I did there?) If the Creativity doesn’t come – Oh well. Maybe tomorrow…..

We’ll be ready.


Best Doctor Ever

photo 1

Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would’ve been 109 years old. He is the Best Doctor Ever on account of no needles, no looking into ears with a flashlight, no sticks stuck into forbidden places, and no touching of my bits and pieces.

Waiting for the doctor...

Waiting for the Doctor. Hoping for the Best.

Mom also loves Dr. Seuss for a million other reasons – his wild imagination, his silly rhyming, his crazy stories, and the fact that his first book was rejected 27 times before anybody said they liked it. Misery loves company.


Mom’s #1 favorite Dr. Seuss book is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins from 1938.

500 hats

Normally, Mom and I steer clear of anything that smacks of numbers, but counting those hats is so much fun and so suspenseful that we can’t resist it. Also, a hundred years ago, Mom’s 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Nelson read that story to her class and Mom and her friends giggled and counted and were afraid for poor little Bartholomew not being able to take his hat off for the king.

500 hats2

As of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Mom is up to date on her 12×12 Challenge. She has written 2 new stories in the past 2 months. Now it’s a new month and time to start a new story.


In which direction should she go?

Direction? Up, of course.

King of the Hill of Filth

King of the Hill of Filth

What will be original?

Original? It doesn’t get any more original than an old dog learning a new trick.


Who will step out of her list of character ideas?

Character? This one.


Or this one.


Or this one.


How will she make the story sparkle?

Sparkle? With a tiara, of course.

Am I sparkling, yet?

Am I sparkling, yet?


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