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

Posts tagged ‘writing’

School Visits

Mom says that school visits are one of the absolute best perks of being an author.

barnes and noble

Talking, reading, and playing with bunches of kids is one of her favorite things to do, and being an author gives her a reason (excuse) to do it.

signing2

For 35 years, she didn’t need an excuse because she was a teacher.

Teacher-Mom

Teacher-Mom

I guess you can take the teacher out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher.

Mom has been to three author visits in the past month. At one of them, she helped kids understand how to accept and include differently-abled friends.

old bridge

Author-Mom

At another one, she taught about how an idea becomes a story and how that story becomes a book. And the third visit was just a quick stop to see the kids she taught and pick up a thank you note and gift that they made for her.

bulletin board note

Perfect fit on Mom’s inspiration board…

...and not a bad spot for a nap, either.

…and not a bad spot for a nap, either.

That quick stop included a cute little doggie in her flag dress who was invited along by the teacher, instead of being left behind watching out the window as the car pulled away.

looking

It was ME! I was invited to school!!

note at schoolI have dreamed about this for-like-EVER! I was petted and fussed over and had a captive audience to watch me do tricks and feed me treats. I tasted pretty much every single kid, and they were delicious! They tasted like crayons. And gum. And lunchroom pizza. And playground dirt. Everyone said I was well-behaved and cute as a buttermilk biscuit. Well, they didn’t exactly say that, but I knew it was true.

thinker

Being cute…

Mom even took a minute to talk to the kids about how to meet a new dog and how to avoid dog bites and keep from scaring or startling dogs.

school visit

And a little about the job that therapy dogs do.

IMG_0632

read 2 a pet

Did I mention how everyone loved me and said I was cute? Yeah… That.

desk dog2

Twist

Supposedly there are only seven (or nine) basic story plots in the whole wide world. That means that the millions and millions of books that are written are just different twists on those plots. Mom has been twisting away on three different stories these past couple of weeks. She’s working to make them different and fun and unusual and original and able to stand out in the crowd.

It’s kind of like taking a street nap. I mean – a nap is a nap is a nap. It’s always a challenge to put a new twist on my favorite outdoor activity.

street3Sometimes I sit for a while before totally hitting the deck.

street6Sometimes, I lie on the sidewalk instead of the street. It’s made of the same surface material, so it feels just as good. Plus, no cars can interrupt my nap, and Mom doesn’t have to drag me into the gutter every five minutes to keep me from getting run over.

street10This was a nap I took as soon as I got out of Mom’s car. When I popped out, I felt that warm asphalt and just couldn’t help myself.

street8I especially like a street nap when the ground is extra filthy. Dumpster residue, oil stains, and gravel are some of my favorites. And I make sure to press my allergy spot into the dirt. Mom keeps the spot clean and dry and sanitized and tries very hard not to let it get infected. That’s why I have to take matters into my own paws and drag it through the dirt now and then. I’m pretty sure clean is overrated.

There is always another spin, a better way, a new approach, and a fresh twist – whether it’s for a tired story or a classic street nap. Mom says, “This is super cute!” and “I have a GREAT idea for the ending!” and “Where is the peroxide??”

cone and doggie

….and, “Get in the tub.”

bath

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

weed quote

Mom’s computer is FILLED with weeds! There are six, seven, sometimes ten versions of each weed. She works hard to get the virtues of her weeds discovered. So far, no good. But she is never discouraged. Mom loves weeds. She works with them and revises them, and the whole time she appreciates their beauty. …because why be a writer if you’re not enjoying the writing and not loving what you write?!

Mom appreciates her weeds AND the ones that grow on the lawns around our building.

weeds2

She says, “OMG. This story is so cute.” and “I should send this out somewhere.” and “Don’t eat the flowers. I mean weeds. I mean flowers.”

weeds

They’re weeds….

Weeds are relative.

white weeds

Definitely weeds….

Sometimes, Mom sends her ugly weed stories to her critique group or RYS. They are helpful and encouraging. Then she gets more ideas and she either fixes the weeds to make them bloom into flowers, or she digs into a new piece and starts nurturing it along.  Book #2 or ebook #2 might be right around the corner.

Right around the corner from the purple weeds, are probably…

purple weeds

….more weeds….

dandy

But that’s OK. One man’s weed is another man’s flower.

 

 

 

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Mom strives to make her stories different from what she’s read or written in the past. Let’s face it nobody wants to read the same old same old thing. Sometimes Mom takes two or three ideas from her idea list, jumbles them up, spins them around, flips them over, and fits them into one story to make it different.

ebookcover with border

When you’re an author, different is always better. Different stands out to editors and agents, and eventually different stands out on the shelf at the bookstore.

Book #1

 When Mom pulled her socks out of the dryer, something looked different about them.

socks

No, they didn’t shrink. But there’s a bunch of baby socks in with the regular socks. They’re mine. I wear one on my scratching-foot so I don’t hurt my face if my allergies kick up. Kick up… See what I did there?

owl sock

I saw something else that was different last week. Out in the field with my goose friends there was a white bird. It might have been a small, white goose, and it might have been a big, white duck. But it was different. Whatever it was, I hope it leaves me the same delicious candies as my other goose friends.

white bird

Mom and I went walking at a different park the other day. We saw white birds there, too, but they weren’t geese or ducks at all. They were boats shaped like swans.

swan boat dog

I headed down the dock to catch a ride on one, but Mom said the word, “No boat.” and “Stay by me.” and “I wonder if a story called Dog on a Swan Boat is anything….”

If it starts with the word Dog, it's probably something.

If it starts with the word Dog, it’s probably something…

 

 

 

Five Word Friday

5

Today’s 5 words are about Little by Little.

5. My face – After visiting 4 different parks in a week,

double slide

I may have picked up some allergens which made me itchy. REALLY itchy. So itchy that I tried to scratch my face off.

face1

Little by little, it’s getting better.

face2face3

4. The vet – The vet gave me 2 shots and said Mom needed to keep the cone on my head so I could get better.

vet

*gulp*

Little by little I am allowed some cone-free time each day as long as Mom is home to watch me like a hawk.

cone sad

3. Beginning to End – Mom is working on a new story. It usually takes a week or two to get from the opening to the ending. She’s still way at the beginning, but tries to move it along some each day – little by little.

once upon

2. Visits – Little by little the springtime school visits are getting scheduled and done. Mom visited a super fun school last week for their Discovery Day. It was hard work and a longer day than she’s used to, but the kids and teachers made it a great time. I waited at home…

left alone

1. Bunny and Carrots – Mom is eating one of her chocolate Easter bunnies little by little. First the bunny went deaf,

earless bunny

Huh??

then he totally lost his head.

headless bunny

I am afraid to see what happens to the poor guy next.

bunny butt

GAH! Where’s his tail??

No chocolate bunnies allowed for me, but I got a toy bunny

bunny

and every day Mom puts some carrots into my kibbles. Little by little the carrots run out.

carrots please

Then we switch to green beans. Yum.

green beans

16. And also, spring is coming little by little. Some flowers started growing already!

chalk flowers

Wait. What?

 

Five Word Friday

five

Spring is coming soon!

park equipment

I love change, so changing to a new season makes me happy. Today’s 5 words are about change.

daffodil

Weather – When spring comes, winter goes away and the weather gets warm and sunny and nice. Some days, I can take a springtime street nap.

street4

Sometimes Mom lets me play on the baby swing,

swing

…or explore the park.

rock pose

Cutting – This week, Mom changed one of her stories from having 790 words to having 501 words. In picture books, 500 words need to tell the whole story. That’s not to say some stories aren’t 700 or 800 words. And at the other end of the spectrum some stories are 11 words or 26 words. That’s a totally different kind of “picture” book than the ones Mom writes.

2 books

Outfits – Mom ordered me a new raincoat and new collars for spring.

blue collar flowerleather collar

 

 

 

 

 

 

I change outfits a lot. It keeps things interesting.

cupcake dress party dress

Visit – Mom will do a school visit next week. It’s a change from the usual visits that she does. At this school visit, instead of a big bunch of students, Mom will meet with 6 or 7 small groups of kids. She will talk to them, read to them, and play with them. It will be fun.

waiting

I’ll just wait here…..

Toys – It’s been ages since Mom changed up my toybox. She thinks I forgot that there’s a bag of toys in the top of the closet. Truth be told, I kind of did forget what’s in there. So when she switches out the toys in the box for the toys in the bag, I will be as excited as if she went shopping at Petco, Target, and PetSmart and shopped till she dropped – all for me!

toy switch

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Conditions are never just right. People who delay action till all factors are favorable do nothing.
~William Feather~

Writers know that they have to write whether they feel like it or not. Well, maybe not write – but they need to do writer-adjacent activities, no matter what.

Classroom visit

Classroom visit

Mom knows this, so when conditions are not favorable, she reads picture books or writing blogs, lists ideas, researches agents or publishers, submits stories or poems, critiques work in her writing group, or fixes up a story she wrote a long time ago.

napper

Ho-hum…

There are plenty of actions she can take. And she does… But somehow, when that part of her day is finished, she turns her sights to me. Sometimes this is a plus. We ride in the car,

cardress

hit the park,

park bench

walk around the neighborhood, or play with toys.

toys

But sometimes, she says the word, “Want to learn?” *cue scary music here*

The newest trick Mom is trying to teach me is called Shell Game. We use bathroom cups instead of shells and a Cheerio instead of a pea.

Smart!

Smarter!!

Duh…

And the only gambling involved is the fact that I may or may not lose my mind and just eat the cups.

cup eater

I would like to delay this learning (and ALL learning) till factors are favorable, but Mom says, “All factors will NEVER be favorable – for either one of us.” and “Now is as good a time as any – for both of us.” and “GAH! What are those jackasses in your head telling you???”

Huh??

Huh??

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