Mama Diaries

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG: Writing Stresses and Joys


Today's IWSG question is, "What stresses you out as a writer?  What brings you joy?"

Stresses:  Trying to complete a project when I either don't have time, or I have writer's block. Sometimes revisions stress me out, too, but mostly because of my time issues.

What brings joy:  Completing a project, knowing people like my work, and selling books—lots of them!

How about you? What things make you want to pull your hair out, and what makes you jump up and down?

Friday, November 5, 2021

IWSG and Another Klaus Story


Okay. So I'm a few days late on the IWSG post. Sorry. It's been busy in my world!  Better late than never. The question is, is it easier for me to come up with a title for my work or write a blurb?  Title. For sure! I have titles popping out of my head all over the place. Blurbs take way more effort. They have to be concise, convey the story, and interest the reader at the same time. Not an easy task!  What about you?  Which do you find easier?

And now for another Klaus story:  The feisty canine reached the point in his life all dogs dread. It was time to get neutered. On the day of the operation, he was up bright and early at 6 AM, jubilant and jumping with glee. He knew a car ride was in the picture. The excitement was too much. He arrived at the vet's office, still overjoyed., super-hyper, tugging at the leash, jumping, and greeting everyone who was there.

As you probably know, a dog undergoing the neutering process has to be sedated. Well, Klaus, being the extraordinarily hyper beast he is, wouldn't settle down. Extra tranquilizers were required. Then afterward, when it was time to put the "cone of shame" on him, he needed three people to hold him down to get it done. You'd think after having his privates altered, he'd be a little more subdued. But no. He still wanted to greet everyone. Bumping into them like a drunk person, he rammed them with his cone of shame.  

I'm sure there was a collective sigh of relief when he finally went out the door.

Klaus has fully recovered and is no longer wearing the cone of shame. And he is still as crazy as ever!

Have you ever known a dog (or cat) that required extra tranquilizers to have any kind of operation?

(Note: The story is a second-hand account. I did not take the dog to the vet. The ex did. This is what he says happened.) 


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

IWSG and Cat Dog


This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is:  Is there anything you wouldn't write in your books? (That's loosely paraphrased.) Well, yes. I don't write profanity or sexual scenes in my manuscripts. First of all, for children's books, it's not appropriate. Second, I just plain wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. I don't use profanity in my everyday vocabulary because I don't think it's very classy, so why would I write that way?  And I guess I really have never had any desire to write a steamy hot sex scene. What happens in the bedroom should stay private between lovers because more often than not, it ends up coming off less-than-romantic in the written word. It takes a really special talent to pull it off. 

Are there any things you would not think about writing in your manuscripts?   

About cat dog...I am speaking of the wild German Shepherd named Klaus. The other day, I went to the mansion (the ex's place) to pick up my son. When I got there, I found the giant, 80-pound dog standing on a table. What in the world...?  I thought. The ex quickly came and yelled at the beast to get down. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, Klaus does indeed have a new trick:  Jumping on any table he can.  He's like a Tigger (think Winnie the Pooh). Bouncing and jumping,  just like a cat.  Have you ever seen a German Shepherd standing on a kitchen table? If you have, I'd sure like to know about it!

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

IWSG and Lost in the Secret Room


This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is, "How do you define success as a writer?"  I think there are different levels of success. The first level is that you actually complete a manuscript. If you are a writer, you know that's a challenge unto itself. Then I would say getting your work published is the next level. For me, it wasn't just publishing it myself. It was finding an agent/traditional publisher who actually thought my work was decent enough to accept. It gave me a sense of validation. The next level would be selling copies of your work. That means people are actually interested in what you write and that you've done a decent amount of marketing to get the word out. Finally, if you hit a best-seller list and make a lot of money, I'd consider that the ultimate success. Not many of us get to that level, but we should all take pride if we reach the first level. As one of my author friends likes to say, "If writing was easy, everyone would be doing it."

Now for the story. It's another Klaus one. The overgrown German Shepherd puppy had been let out of his crate. Usually, I keep a pretty good eye on him, because he's nothing but trouble. But I had gotten sidetracked answering work emails. By the time I looked up, Klaus was nowhere to be found. I called his name. No response. I went upstairs to look for him. No dog. I began to worry. Did he somehow get outside?

Going back downstairs, I noticed the basement door was open. Surely, he had gone down there. I went into the basement and called his name. No Klaus. No sounds indicating another living creature was there. I went into the storage room. I went in the theater. I went into the other storage room. Nothing. 

Then I looked on the ground in the first storage room I had checked. A dog toy! Evidence the wayward creature had been there. Puzzled, I wondered where in the world an 85 pound, frisky German Shepherd could possibly be hiding. And so quietly!

My son, Bubba, solved the mystery. He came down into the storage area and crawled into a small space that led to a little door under the basement steps. He opened that door and guess who popped out? Klaus! With his tongue hanging out and a big doggy smile. He had gone into the secret cubby space and somehow closed the door behind him. Why he didn't bark to tell us he was trapped is a mystery. Apparently, he enjoys a good game of hide-and-seek!


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

IWSG and More Klaus Destruction


This month's question is:  What is my favorite writing craft book?  Answer:  Save the Cat! Writes a Novel.  It breaks up a story into 15 plot points. All you have to do is follow the plot points and voila, you have a novel.  Right. If it were only that easy!  But seriously, it takes out some of the mystery of how to write a good novel. I have found it quite useful on my writing journey.

And now for the latest report of German Shepherd, Klaus's destruction:

My daughter's wallet. Apparently, Klaus has an appetite for fine leather.

And styrofoam pots. 😁


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

IWSG and the End of Bootsy


Today's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is, "What would make you stop writing?"

Not enough time. And unfortunately, I am struggling with the time factor. I manage to write a paragraph here and there, but it's taking me forever to finish the last Bubba and Squirt book. If I had more of me or more hours in the day, then I don't think I'd ever stop writing.

What about you? What would make you stop writing?

And some not so fabulous news:  Our cat, Bootsy, seems to have met his demise. He's always been an outdoor cat (a stray we rescued, but who absolutely refused to live in the house). He usually stays on the back deck and comes for meals like clockwork. But he's been missing. It's been about three weeks now, and no sign of him. I know he didn't like the new German Shepherd, Klaus, but he still never missed a meal.  Bootsy was about 16 years old. So, I think he slinked off to die in peace. We'll miss him. Hopefully, he and Schultz are playing in animal heaven now. RIP, Bootsy!


Tuesday, June 1, 2021



The Insecure Writer's Support Group question of the month is, "How long do you let a first draft sit before you revisit it and make revisions? And is it related to how many books you have under your belt?"

I honestly don't have a specific time I let first drafts sit. Generally, I start writing something new and work on that for a while before even thinking about the most recently completed first draft. I want to forget what I wrote as much as possible. Then I can truly look at it with fresh eyes. And no, it really doesn't depend on how many books I have written. With Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China, I waited 6 years before looking at it again. I had written three books before I came back to it.

What about you? How long do you wait to redo the first draft?

Here's a recent puppy picture of Klaus. He's so adorable, but definitely a high-maintenance bundle of trouble! (For those who may have missed the last post, yes, the wall behind him is his handiwork. He likes to chew!) 


Sunday, May 16, 2021

New Release: Bad Fairy Strikes Again!

Author, Elaine Kaye has a new book out—the second of her Bad Fairy Series. Check it out! 


***99 CENTS***


 Series: A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book 2)

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Pages: 60

Ages: 7-12



Will Thistle ever escape the nickname Bad Fairy?

Thistle Greenbud thought the nickname Bad Fairy was behind her, but she can't escape it. Someone is spreading a rumor about her that just isn't true and can ruin all of her hard work in getting into Advanced School. What fairy would do such a thing?

As if that's not bad enough, Thistle's dad goes missing. Not a single fairy in Tinselville has seen him. He's vanished like pixie dust. Her mom is distraught, and Thistle is worried. Where could he be?

Thistle and the Flutters, along with Dusty and Moss, are on both cases. Can they find out what happened to her dad and solve the Bad Fairy rumor? Thistle hopes so!



Amazon / Nook / iBooks / Goodreads


Fairy dust is extremely important to fairies.

When fairies are babies, a little bit of fairy dust is sprinkled on their wings every day until they are old enough to fly. In order for fairy dust to do this, it has to go through a special magical process. If the dust hasn’t gone through the magical phase, then it just stays dust and is useless to fairies.

That’s why Sparkles Factory and the fairies who work there are so crucial. Sparkles Factory is where bags of dust are transformed into magical fairy dust. Thistle’s dad is one of the fairies in charge of watching over this process.

Once fairy dust is made, it’s now time for the bags to get tied off. This is when another group of important fairies come in, like Thistle’s mom. They close up the bags of fairy dust with specially made ribbons. Now the dust is ready to be delivered to Fairview Hospital and Petal Patch where flower fairy babies grow in flowers.

But what would happen if a bad fairy stole fairy dust???


Moss says, “My uncle Wingly said that some fairy dust has gone missing from the warehouse.”

The Flutters gasp.

My eyes widen in shock. “Why would anyone want to steal fairy dust? It’s crucial for fairy babies to fly.” Did someone want fairies not to have the ability to fly?

“Whoever it is isn’t stealing the small bags of magical dust,” Moss explains. “They’re stealing the large bags used for storing the dust before they go through the magical spell center. No one claims to see anyone taking them, either. Sheriff Webbing is at a loss. With the fairy dust thief, your dad’s disappearance, and the rumors about you, he and his team have a lot to handle.”

I swallow. Why hasn’t Mom said anything about this? Maybe it happened at the same time Dad disappeared. Could my dad be involved in this?


Book Trailer:


Get Book 1 for 99 CENTS!

BAD FAIRY: Amazon / Nook / iBooks / Kobo


My review:  

Bad Fairy Strikes Again is the second book of the Bad Fairy Adventure series. In this story, Thistle, nick-named "bad fairy" has a mystery to solve. Actually, several. First, where's her dad? Second, who's stealing fairy dust? Third, who's spreading rumors about her making fairies think she's a bad fairy?

It's a quick read and a fun romp through the whimsical world of the fairies. Young readers will enjoy the fun fairy words and following Thistle on her second adventure. They'll also learn some important lessons about friendship and acceptance. Appropriate for young middle-grade readers who enjoy fantasy and stories about fairies.  5Stars


PRIZES: 3 signed paperback picture books (Pea Soup Disaster, The Missing Alphabet, Slow Poke), three handmade bookmarks, plus a goodie bag and worksheets.

Eligibility: International



Elaine Kaye is the author of A Bad Fairy Adventure series AND A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Amazon / Goodreads / BookBub / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

IWSG Post and Puppy Mischief


The IWSG question of the month is, "Have readers ever responded to your work in ways you didn't expect?"  I had to think about this a bit. Adult readers of my Bubba and Squirt books have responded that way. Mostly that they found the stories entertaining and learned something about the countries they didn't know before. I expected that from kids, but not so much from adults, so it was a pleasant surprise.  

If you're a writer, have you been surprised by a reader's response to your work?

Now, for the Klaus story.  Klaus is our new German Shepherd puppy. He's growing by leaps and bounds. And he's in his teething stage. Anything in his path he chews. Including the wall. This is what we recently found:

And this is the culprit:

Sitting in the doggy jail with evidence on his nose!

Monday, April 5, 2021

IWSG Post and Cat Caper


This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is, "Do you take risks when writing?"

Nope. I write for kids, so the last thing I want to do is offend them or their parents. In fact, while writing the Bubba and Squirt books, I do a lot of research on culture. I take special care to write in such a way as to be respectful of the culture. I hear about it if I don't succeed. (And yes, I actually did offend someone with one of Bubba's comments in my first book. Most kids would have found it funny, and  a good way to remember what something was called, but this particular person didn't.)  

What about you? Are you a risk-taker when it comes to writing? Have you ever offended someone with what you've written?

And now for the story:  We haven't heard much about Bootsy lately, but I assure you, he is alive and well. The other day, my ex went outside to put something in the garbage. When he opened the lid, who do you think he found?  Yep. Bootsy! The sneaky cat was feasting on leftover fried chicken. Do you think Bootsy was at all concerned about being discovered? No! He licked his paws, jumped down, and casually sauntered off. (I don't know if you remember a previous story where he teamed up with Schultz and raided the garbage. Guess he's still up to his old tricks!)  In case you are wondering, Bootsy doesn't much care for the new puppy, Klaus. He barks too much. I think he still misses his buddy, Schultz. 

Finally, for your entertainment, I collaborated virtually with my friend, a cellist, to play some more music. if you'd like to listen, you can go here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

IWSG Question of the Month and Meet Klaus!


This month's question is:  Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

I write for children—picture books and younger middle-grade books. I used to read a lot of those genres, mostly because my kids were young, and I wanted to select books they'd enjoy. But I think my favorite genre to read is historical fiction—the adult variety. I enjoy the history aspect of them. If I read middle-grade books, I like ones that have fantasy/adventure elements. Those are more exciting to me than reading about middle-grade social issues and problems. 

What about you? What genres do you enjoy reading?

And now for a drumroll . . .

I would like to introduce you to our newest family member:  Klaus! He came home yesterday, and he's the sweetest little bundle of joy!


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

IWSG Question of the Month


I can't believe another month has just rolled around! January was insanely busy. Just finished another move. Hopefully, that will be it for a while. And Bubba just got a job as a chef at a restaurant. A big step up from McDonald's! You may remember from stories from a few years back how much he enjoyed creating interesting culinary concoctions. Let's hope he sticks with the book, or guests will get some interesting sensory experiences!

Today's IWSG question of the month is:  Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Why, yes! I'm sure this answer is true for so many of you. I met my publisher through blogging. And both of my editors. Not to mention so many incredibly supportive friends!  Thanks to all of you for your friendship over the last 15 years. I've been through a lot in my personal life. Some of you know about it. But even the ones who don't know, you have been there through the years, and it's always been nice coming here to reconnect with you, even if at this point it's only once a month. You all rock!

Now for your entertainment:  I've been working on making a CD of violin/piano music. My accompanist and I videoed one of our rehearsals. If you'd like to hear a song, go here



Monday, January 4, 2021

IWSG Question of the Month


First of all, I'd like to wish you a very Happy New Year! I sure hope 2021 is a lot better than 2020!

It's time for the ISWG question of the month: 

Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

Here's my top three things:  Boring, predictable plots. Spelling and grammar errors galore. Uninteresting characters.

What about you? What makes you put down a book?

Before I go, I'd like to let you know that  I am a guest on the Hands-on Book blog. You can stop by to read how to make marshmallow constellations and learn a little about my newest book, Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure.