Monday, January 24, 2011

Boys, Puppies, and Authors

I've been puppy-sitting.

First, let me remind everyone that I’ve never had a house pet, so I’m not the best one to know if a puppy needs to go outside every 5 minutes, or if he’s hungry (again).

However, over the last few months, I have discovered that 1) yes, he is hungry (again), and 2) yes, go outside. Better safe, than sorry.

Anyway, now that I’m an old pro at this puppy-sitting business, I ended up sitting my son’s Boxer and Boston terrier this weekend, Champ and Bean. They’re both about 7-8 months old.

After picking them up on Saturday, I let them have some time outside to play. Our 10 month old, Dakota, (an outside dog) was ecstatic to have company. Those puppies ripped, and ran, and jumped and play-fought to their hearts’ content.

I went inside to clean, and the next thing I knew, they were gone. I called and called, but they didn’t come. Finally, I saw them about a ¼ mile from the house down our long driveway. In this picture taken last year, that would be on your left.

They were exploring, Dakota leading the way. I called again, but they wouldn’t come. I went back inside, and kept working, thinking they’d come back. A few minutes later, I stepped outside so I could see down the long driveway.

No puppies.

Called and called.

Then spotted movement even farther away on the RIGHT side of the picture almost at the tree line. And do you think they came when I called? Of course not. They ignored me.

I went back inside (it was still pretty nippy outside) and debated going after them on the four-wheeler, but then knew that they would follow the 4-wheeler from now on.

She who hesitates, loses her puppies.


When I looked again, they were GONE!

(Seriously, do you see any puppies in that landscape picture above? Cows, yes, but no puppies. Sigh)

Now, it was about this time that I was reminded of my youngest son’s 13th birthday party. He invited all his friends, and we had somewhere between 14-16 boys here that weekend. Why 14-16, you ask? Every time I counted heads, I came up with a different number, and after you hear the tale, you’ll understand why!!!

Those boys piled off the school bus about 3:30 and hit the woods. Well, first, they asked about riding the 4-wheelers, but I nixed that. They had lost a classmate the previous year in a 4-wheeler accident, and they understood my no meant N.O. and didn’t press me. Then the horses came next, but with that many boys, and only 3 or 4 horses I talked them out of that, too.

I should have let them ride the horses…

So, instead, they decided they would catch a calf.

This was in April. Mary will understand exactly what I mean without the benefit of a picture, but for everyone else...

Do you know how big most calves are in April?

Here’s a pretty good idea. This youngster got his head caught in a tree, and dh is in the process of getting him out. Blackie weighed about 450-500 pounds, and this pic was taken in March 2008.

Back to the boys.

I told them to have at it. There’s hundreds of acres here, and I knew they couldn’t catch one of those calves.

But whoo-eee, the ensuing chaos was un-BE-lievable!

Even though all those cows were used to being herded into pens with my own whooping cowboys on horses and/or four-wheelers, 14 (or was it 16?) Comanche-whooping, running, yelping COYOTES was just too much for them to handle.

Those cows stampeded and left the country.

Hours later, my poor long-suffering hubby finally rounded up all the cows. I finally rounded up all the boys. We had one fatality (a black calf similar to the one in the picture), and it took dh about 3 days to find his new prized registered bull!

That was the last birthday bash we hosted.

By now you’re probably wondering what similarities can be drawn between the above two stories and writers.

Glad you asked!

Sometimes we run off after every new thing that comes along. Like a pack of puppies or boys on a sleepover, we rush to the next exciting thing, or the next story, without thought of the consequences.

Get a bunch of us together, and we go a little stir crazy! And we might even...ahem...fall into a ditch or two. (Matthew 15:14.)

Here are a few tips to keep you out of the ditches and on the straight and narrow:

• ACFW is top of my list. RWA is also critical if you’re writing non-inspirational romance. There are other groups that target sci-fi, mystery, western. Find your niche and join!

• Editors and agents: Seek out editors who are buying or representing the type of stories you write. Go to conferences where these people are speaking, listen to their workshops, friend them on Facebook, follow their blogs. Get to know them on a professional level as much as possible. If Chip MacGregor is your dream agent, you should know that he is a die-hard Oregon Ducks fan. If Karen Ball is your dream editor, you should know that she absolutely adores dogs. Hmmm, I guess I should mention something about my own agent…if you’re trying to reel in agent Steve Laube, you should know that he went to high school in Hawaii. You might not know these exact details about the editor or agent you want to work with, but my point is to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

• Online communities: Of course the best is Seekerville! We’re here to encourage and assist and not lead you down the wrong path. While some of us are farther along that path than others, there’s always someone a little farther along or behind. Let’s all give each other a helping hand to pull ourselves forward.

• Utilize contest feedback to point you in the right direction. But be wise and don’t follow blind advice. After you’ve entered a few contests, you’ll start to get a feel for the solid advice that’s thrown your way.

• When researching, double-check your facts. Don’t rely on one source and assume that’s exactly the way something happened 200 years ago.

• How-to books can be very helpful, but don’t get so immersed in them that you traipse all over the place learning how to write, but never actually write.

• Authors who know their stuff are one of your most valuable assets. I’m so thankful to have my Seeker Sisters and Friends of Seekerville, as well as a host of other writer friends I can call on for advice.

• And, last, but certainly not least, saturate your brain with story. I’m reading Glynna’s book, Audra’s, and Tina’s books right now, as well as an advance copy of Robin Caroll’s In the Shadow of Evil, and I’m learning so much from these authors’ techniques. I just wish I was brave enough to highlight the pages. Maybe I need an intervention.

These are just a few tips to keep us all from falling into the ditch. I’m sure you can think of dozens more. Let’s hear ‘em!

Back to the puppies…

Just about the time it crossed my mind to call in the National Guard (ie. my son, who really is at ANG training!), the puppies came tearing around the side of the house. They’d done all their exploring and landed safely back at home.

All tuckered out!


  1. Pam I Your place is so lovely!

    Bet they had a ball! May sends her VERY best greetings to them!

    Great tips here, as always. I'm so thankful to the Seekers!

    Hot water ready for tea. And some pre-Valentine chocolate.

  2. I wanna live in a place like that! But without the cows. Okay - maybe not quite like that. But I do want a couple of acres some day. You know. After I win the lottery.

    But, I, uh, don't play.


    Moving on.

    Great advice here :). I've been following blogs by agents [more so than editors] but this is the only one I comment on frequently. I have friended a bunch who take 'just anyone' as friends and 'liked' the public pages of those who don't. Of course, I don't always get up the guts to say anything ;).

    Rachelle Gardner had an interesting blog go up a bit ago about prolific authors who could do 2-3 books a year and how hard that can be for a new author with non-compete clauses or whatever in their contracts.

    I haven't made nearly as much progress as yesterday, but got in some good cuddle time with a sick 5yo [tomorrow we're having a Toy Story marathon on my bed - I'll work in there and watch with her] and hair cuts for me and the other 3 kids. I HAVE finished 3 of the half-finished chapters though. And, um, come up with 2 possibles for earlier in-betweenies during a time jump.

    Does it ever end? /sigh/

    Back to it - thanks for the lovely diversion. Pam - how on earth does a cow get stuck in a tree like that?

  3. Coffee's ready. And there's hot chocolate and hot cider.

    I love the support and tips here at Seekerville. You gals do a great job.


  4. Pam, I'm glad no boys were lost at the memorable birthday bash and that the puppies came home.

    I really like reading the stories of talented authors. Not only do I get the enjoyment factor, but I learn new things from each book I read.

    I finished Tina's book a couple of days ago. Loved that ending. I got a bit teary, but then, I'm the mushy type. I've started Audra's book and can already see that there are going to be some bumps in the main characters' roads. (Pun intended, Audra. =)

  5. Pam, just how many gray hairs do you get per adventure?

    Thanks for the post and a peek into your spread!

    Peace, Julie

  6. Well, Pam that's a lot of land you have out there!! And you're right, we do after after new plotting scheme and get published quick scheme.
    Sort of like new diets, lol.

    I know I'm guilty.

    Keli, thanks for the kind words on my book!

  7. Fun to see where you hang out, Pam! Lovely verdant rolling hills dotted with cattle and sometimes puppies and boys who play havoc with your writing time. LOL

    Excellent tips for staying on track! I'd add timers to the list. Deadlines too. :-) Self-imposed deadlines or signed contracts.


  8. HEA: sleeping puppies.
    Until they wake up. I'm watching my granddogters this weekend as well. It was a three dog night literally and figuratively (minus five degrees)

    Pam, I can't quite bring myself to highlight or underline in my fiction books either!

    I agree, it's important to realize it takes time to improve your craft while using all the suggestions you've given.

  9. Pam,

    Your country side is lovely and looks so peaceful...well...I guess until a group of boys chase the cattle!

    Great advice...our writing processes are ever involving but the one thing that doesn't must write if you want to be published.

  10. Oh, Pam, your grand-dogs are precious!! I wish I could harness some or their energy! LOL

    Great tips! I can't think of a thing to add.

  11. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraJanuary 24, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Your pics are great. I am glad that the puppies came back. Our dog has been taking off recently. In the last week she has taken off 3 times. We bought her a new collar in hopes that it will stop this running off. One of our main concerns with her is we rescued her off the streets. We think she was abused and she is not the friendliest dog. We are afraid that she might bite someone when she takes offs. Good luck on your next book!

  12. You're so right, Pam, sometimes it's so easy to run off in a million directions when you need to rein yourself in and focus, focus, focus. Which is what I'm going to do right now as I only have an hour left of my morning writing time. :)

  13. Good morning all. Oooooh, Helen, I'll take hot chocolate with two shots of coffee mixed in. And here's some French Vanilla cream and marshmallows to add to it.

    KC, the grandpuppies sayhello back at May!

  14. Carol, I know how hard it is to put yourself "out there" on blogs, email loops, facebook, etc. I'm really more of a sit back and watch and learn by reading the blogs and comments.

    But you know what?

    Sergeant Tina issued ORDERS for me to post a blog or invite a guest every so often.

    Same at church. I'm part of the team that has to speak on Saturday nights every couple of months. Ack!

    So, I forced out of my comfort zone, and it's good for my public persona whether I like it or not.

    You're off to a great start commenting in Seekerville. Next you'll graduate to commenting on those editors blogs, and then creating a blog of your own.

    I promise it gets easier the more you practice!

  15. Loved these examples! And the lesson tucked in them. =]

  16. Carol, I forgot to answer your question about the bull in the tree.

    The tree had a fork in it once upon a time, but one fork died and fell off, so there was this big gaping hole. For whatever reason, he stuck his head in that hole, but it was a tight fit.

    And just like forcing your hand into a jar, it's alot easier to get it in than get it out.

    If dh hadn't checked that part of the woods that Sunday morning, I hate to think what would have happened to the calf.

  17. Plenty of gray hairs, Julie!

    Got a few extras last night. My son's (the one who's away at ANG trainging) girlfriend and her sister took his truck to the carwash, and on the way home, they saw sparks flying out from underneath. Both girls (and the puppies) bailed out, terrified!

    We were in church, but I went and rescued them, then after church dh and I pulled the truck home.

    About 7 miles, in the dark, with flashers flashing.

    If you've never driven a vehicle being pulled by a 15' chain, there is an art to keeping the chain taut, but not bearing down on the brakes too much.

    Gray hairs?

    Oh yes.

  18. PAMMY!!! Your blog today is just flat-out adorable ... like you!!! What a fun read, my friend, and like KC said, your place is lovely and SO inviting!!

    LOVE all of your final points, but especially: • How-to books can be very helpful, but don’t get so immersed in them that you traipse all over the place learning how to write, but never actually write.

    OH, AMEN TO THAT!!! As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I tend to get overwhelmed and frustrated reading too many how-to books because it tends to stifle my natural flow and rhythm ... kind of like somebody on the dance floor, counting as they dance in stiff, boxy steps. Me? I'm kind of a free-for-all, cartwheel type of girl who likes to spin and go crazy on the dance floor, so too much instruction takes away from my spontaneoty. BUT I do believe in how-to books, just not getting immersed in them till I lose my voice.

    And now I'd like to go join those puppies and go crazy in a field, running off these extra pounds I put on this weekend ... sigh.


  19. Get rich quick scheme!

    Perfect analogy, Tina.

    I'm guilty as sin.


    Can I say that here?

  20. Janet, timers are great.

    Right now I'm trying to find a CAVE where I can set up shop so that my brain knows this is my WRITING SPACE.


    Of course said cave much have heat and AC depending on the time of year. So far all the ones I've found are pretty drafty.

  21. Debra, why is that? I cringe every time I see someone write notes in their Bible and highlight passages.

    I know they get a lot of pleasure and blessings out of that, so I'm not knocking it, but I just CAN'T do it!

  22. Hey, I need to clear something up.

    Carol M does have a blog. PenTalk Community! Congratulations, Carol. And having some writing friends to share it with helps keep the momentum up.

    Blessings on your new adventure!

  23. While reading Julie Lessman's comment, a random thought shot through my brain.

    Really, most of my thoughts are random.

    But anyway, the latest "Get rich [published] scheme" I'm seeing is writing software. Again, don't get me wrong. I think they're great tools, and can help us plot and keep up with characters. I downloaded the one Audra talked about a month or so ago, yWriter5.

    I think I'm going to enjoy using it, but it's just a Jaguar version of the VW spreadsheet I had created for myself. More bells and whistles to keep my characters and plot organized.


    this week I heard about Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method being available as software.

    Then there's Scrivner, and a host of others writers LOVE.

    If I jump from software to software thinking it's going to write my book for me or get me published, it's not going to happen.

    The software is a tool (just like pen and paper) as a means to an end. Each of these newfangled gadgets has a learning curve.

    If we continually chase the prettiest butterfly in the form of the newest software or how-to book, our production levels will actually decrease instead of increase.

  24. Lyn, if I didn't have to go to work today, I think I'd take a nap in your honor! :)

  25. The Pentalk blog is going up and running this weekend. EEK! I haven't looked but the founder told me we have names like 'Frank Perretti' and 'Jerry B Jenkins' on the Facebook page. EEK! Anyone wanna offer to do a guest blog? Yours truly is the EIC and in charge of that stuff for now apparently... EEK! I think I've got two lined up...

    I've got my own blog too - that I've sorely neglected the last few weeks. It's where I unintentionally put a hit out on Mary. I have 5 readers. I'm very proud of this ;). I even have a facebook page [with 7 fans - including me, the only one I don't know is my weblady's hubby ;)].

    I do fine speaking in front of others - most of the time - I'm an instructor at a college. I used to get nervous the first few days of school but now it's only when one of my bosses is doing an evaluation and then it depends on which boss...

    Okay - back to Pentalk stuff and then writing and laundry and a Toy Story marathon with my no-longer-sick-but-still-home-because-of-yesterday's-fever 5yo...

  26. my brother has a boston terrie and at any opportunity that dog is GONE! I know a few people with boxers and under 2 they're awful they said. one guy said his chewed off the sensor for the garage door opener and another kept tearing down his fence. good thing they weren't beagles - you'd never find them I don't think unless a good smelling trail made it's way back to your house!

    what kind of dog is your (poor) outside doggy?

    I have a lab and german shepherd(both inside - and no the townhome isn't my top priority!)I thought we weren't gonna survive the first 3 years. The lab was Trouble from the first minute - tried to crawl under the couch but was too fat - came back with a pen in her mouth so out came the broom and some major dog-proofing but didnt succeed - do ya'll know how fast a lab can chew her way through a doll collection and couch?! thank goodness she has never attacked my books!

    I love doggies...


  27. Good morning everyone!

    Thanks so much for the post, Pam. Letting myself get sidetracked is something I've fought for years - and the jumping for the next pretty butterfly that comes along (love that word picture)! It's something that threatened to derail my homeschooling career, and I hope I learned my lessons there so that it doesn't derail my writing career :-). I used to tell people that once you find a curriculum (or method, or software) that works, act as if you're married to it. You'll never get anywhere if you let your eyes wander!

    I brought cinnamon rolls for breakfast - virtual ones aren't fattening, you know...

  28. Pam,

    Thanks for the tips!

    One way I 'mark up' my books, since I don't like highlighting either (except the 'how to books'- them I don't mind), is using Post-it Flags in different colours.

    Any great scenes I want to go back to I slap on one of those little flags and know just where to go. They come off very easily if you want them to and they don't leave marks on the pages. I've got them all over Julie's books - all the great kissing scenes!!


    Sue (trying to stay warm in VERY COLD weather!)

  29. Pam, I also meant to say that the photo of the b-day party cracked me up. Looks like the running of the bulls! :)

  30. Pam it sounds like your birthday party was a little slice of Calico Canyon.

    So that calf really had it's head stuck in a tree? That's a real picture?

    My husband is just now almost over a broken rib from having a calf get his head stuck between two bars in a gate. The bars were NOT wide enough for a critter to get it's head in and they were DEFINITELY not wide enough for that same stupid critter to get it's head OUT.

    Cattle, dogs, boys, all wild animals.
    You know what? Throw girls in there, too.

  31. Those puppies are adorable!!! So sorry about the calf. :-( Sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier to have boys whenever my girls get really emotional and have their crying jags over something really small. But right now you've made me glad I have girls!!! :-)

    I am trying to write. Pray for me. Stress had done a number on my inspiration and motivation. I'm having the hardest time deciding which direction to take my story. Stress and indecision. Two things that are not helpful when writing a novel.

  32. Oh, Pam, I'm a sucker for anything involving puppies! What a cutie--and looks like he was caught in the act of chewing up something he wasn't supposed to have.

    (Word to the puppywise: stock up on Nylabones.)

    In one of your comments you mentioned creating a space just for writing. I think that's why I rarely unplug my laptop. Sitting at my desk, surrounded by my research material and various dictionaries and thesauri, I'm much more likely to get (and stay) productive.

  33. Awwww those are the cutest puppies EVER! I'm glad they came back safe and sound, at least they don't look like they got all muddy! ;-) Hehehe

    XOXO~ Renee

  34. Susanna, too funny about the lab being too fat to climb under the couch.

    My son and his girlfriend rescued Dakota from the Pound. She's creamy white with black around her mouth. My husband called her a Black Mouth Cur, but she looks like she might have a little bit of bull dog in her.

    We also have a chocolate Lab named Ruby. She's getting really old, but is still very protective of her territory. So, I let her stay in the storage room and snooze on an old loveseat while the puppies explored. I didn't want one of them to try to give her kisses and get snapped at!

  35. Jan! Cinnamon rolls!

    I can taste them now.

    Closing my eyes and imagining the taste.

    I wonder if I don't eat all day Saturday or Sunday, how many cinnamon rolls I can have Sunday morning????

  36. Missy, that picture of the boys chasing cows came off the 'net. I didn't have any homegrown pics of that event!

    I have some pictures of the boys at one of my son's parties, but that was before I got a digital camera.

    The only other pic that isn't ours is the one of the Jeep stuck in the mud.

  37. Yes, that is a real picture of the bull calf with his head stuck in a tree. I have a few more and a video of dh getting him out.

    The video goes a little crazy because ants kept getting on my feet, so you hear me yelping every so often right before the camera goes SWOOSH! lol

  38. Melanie, praying that you'll find your direction.

    Stay between the ditches, sister!

  39. Myra, yes, there is a story behind the first picture. lol

    While puppy-sitting Champ and Bean (I still don't know where he got that name!) last August, I was cutting up okra.

    Some of the pods were too big and hard, and I gave him some just to see what he would do. He had a ball chomping on them, then I had to clean it up.

    He's laying on his "daddy's" ACUs.


    I will admit I have feared "friending" agents on FB because I didn't want to just look like I was taking up their time or spamming, or I think I might just go find a few agents I've had my eye on.

    Hmmm. Sounds like a stalker thing to say. Not my intent, I promise. :)

    Thanks Pam! This has been encouring post. :)

  41. Chip Mac would be a great agent to have, but after Auburn won the NC, I gave up on ever working with him. :-)

    On a serious note, the contest comment got to me. One of the hardest things that I ever had to learn was when not to treat contest judges as all-knowing.

  42. Great post!

    I've been avoiding my writing lately. My excuse has been something like, "You're too new at this. Don't write yet, learn more first." or "The house is dirty, and your husband likes it clean. Clean instead of writing."

    I know it's not possible to learn too much, so I should always learn more. I also know that I do have to clean my house, or I WILL have a cranky husband. That's why these are such convincing arguments. But I also know that writing is something I'm supposed to do, as in, "God told me to." And lately I've been feeling really, REALLY convicted for not writing.

    I'm really bad at managing my time, and I tend to think I can get more done than I actually can. Writing is what always gets thrown to the wayside. I've been praying a lot that God will make me better at this, but I don't make myself "moldable" so to speak. Until I become clay in his hands, as opposed to granite, Things won't change.

  43. That was a very fatalistic post. I am trying to become clay in His hands, really I am. He's definitely working on me.

  44. Great post, Pam
    And cute puppies :-)

    Lovely countryside.
    14-16 boys sounds about right. LOL.
    I just finished having 11 kids in my house this weekend for a birthday bash. Whew...makes for some interesting stories.

  45. Beautiful land, Pam. Boys and animals are quite a combination!

  46. I just wanted to say ...thanks so much to "Seekerville authors" for taking your precious time to help us 'newbies' who are trying to swim our way to 'pub island'...what a HUGE help you are!
    I also have found a few blogs that are inspiring:)e.g. F.A.I.T.H. girls; copyblogger; storyfix; the creative penn, just to name a few:) Of course the most helpful to me personally has been Seekerville! Thanks so much!


  47. I can't believe you left the pups fate hanging through that entire post! Talk about a hook! The puppies are adorable and I love a good dog story (even if I feared for their lives through most of it.) And loved your sound advice as well. I'm discovering that I am not as involved as I should be.

  48. Pam, that is hilarious. I grew up on a farm so I can totally relate on both counts. Although I can honestly say that I've never participated in catching a calf. I left that up to my brother.

    My mom has a boxer who is about 10 years, but she recently picked up a second dog...a mini chihuahua who is 8 months. That dog is never still. After she'd had him a month he broke his leg jumping from too high a perch. When she told me the vet said to keep him still my first question was- where's the tranquilizers? When his leg finally healed and he took off around the room with my stepdad's bottle of tylenol, my stepdad informed my mom that they needed to break his other leg so they could keep up with them. LOL (Of course, they'd never do that, but thinking about it is funny!)

    The writing tips were great. Most of them are things I'm already doing. The rest I'll I have to think on.

    Enjoy your family- two legged and four legged. Sounds like you guys are having a blast.

  49. Dianna, a boxer and a mini chihuahua?! can we get a bit more extreme?! LOL! I'll pass on the chi - I'm more of a big dog person though that's partly because I want them to be able to fend for themselves and not getlost in a pile of laundry or have a stack of books fall over and kill 'em! dont' have to worry about stepping on mine and hurting them either -or rolling over and squishing them though they don't sleep with me now - too much jockeying for space and every time I'd get up to potty they'd take my spot!

    Pam, aw a chocolate lab's a sweetie but she does hover around the food bowl. food and chewies are her numero uno priority in life and the only thing she'll exert herself over I think. surprisingly though when my friend had her baby nearly 3 yrs ago and I took the girls over and he was at that toddling around tugging on ears and trying to climb on and over them the shepherd proved the most patient - the lab hauled it the first opportunity she had that didnt' involve tossing him to the floor! I'll give her that much credit -s he didn't hurt him but she had no tolerance for him at all. now that same friend has 2 bulldogs just about a year old - unfixed - and they're a pain. Neither dog likes them much but they tolerate each other.


  50. Lorna, we're so glad you're here!

    Melanie, I'll be praying for you.

  51. Andrea, balance is the key--and it's hard to do even years into this writing career! I still struggle with it. Plus, it seemed like until I sold there was always guilt that I should be doing something that contributed more to the family. Hang in there! You'll figure it out. And God will guide you. Oh, and another thing that can help is to look at time in smaller blocks. Write an hour, then clean an hour. Notice: I put the writing first!! LOL

  52. Great tips, Pam--thank you for this post. And as others have said, your place is beautiful!! It must give you inspiration just looking out over that gorgeous land. And I was so relieved to read that the puppies did return--WHEW!! Blessings from Georgia,
    Patti Jo :)

  53. Casey, that's not stalking, that's just being savvy about the business.

  54. Walt, I know what you mean. As a veteran of too many contests to count, I had to learn to not change everything judges pointed out.

    But still it's hard to know when to change and when to hold firm.

  55. Kav, today's post is a classic "Frame" story. lol

    I knew you guys would stay with me to find out the fate of the puppies.


  56. Pam - "this week I heard about Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method being available as software."

    I just bought this last week (50% off if you have his Fiction Writing for Dummies - which is GREAT!)

    I'd heard about it previously, but wondered and Camy confirmed I guess last week... so took the plunge.

    It's going to be helpful I think, on book 2. Surely book 2 is easier than book 1... surely...

    Melanie - praying for ya!

    I'm at a fork in the road as well. Not as bad as that calf though, but could use some prayer on a HUGE decision.

    2 illustrators - both amazing - and I need to decide which one... (yes - gasp - going to self-pub)

    Pretty critical decision for a children's book, yes?

    What do you think of using the photo for the cover? I mean, would you pick it up and at least look through it?

    Aus Jenny - Been praying for you too. Please let us know...

  57. Too, too funny, Pam! I love reading about the calamity, now that everyone is home safe and sound.

    The calf with his head stuck. What a hoot!

    Give your husband a hug. I"m sure he's reliving that day in dreams all the time!

    Great advice on staying on the path to success. In my opinion, it all boils down to research whether you're writing historical, searching for an agent, querying a line, etc. Know your stuff, you might be surprised at the details you discover along the way!!

    Great post, Pam!!

  58. Wow! All those critters! The picture at the end with the puppies curled up in their bed is sooo cute!

  59. I'm a little late chiming in, but those were great tips, Pam.

    However, I can't get away from the poor calf.

    How many writers does it take to get a calf out of a tree? There's got to be a punchline in there somewhere--or a story. :-)

  60. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Those dogs are SO adorable.

    Loved this post, Pam!!!!!

    Oh, those little squished up dogs in the bin....SOOOOO cute!!!! I just wanna hug 'em!

    Thanks for sharing!

  61. Sandy, dh called about 9:30 on a Sunday morning to have our son bring tools to help get the

    "calf out of a tree".

    I said WHAT???

    Since our son was in the shower, and I was ready for church, I grabbed my camera bag that has digital camera and video camera all ready to go.

    Somehow I remember to get the tools as well.

    But a calf in a tree? This I had to see! lol

  62. Cheryl, the pups are cute when they're asleep, and they go bananas when they see me.

    I imagine they'll go stir crazy when Sean comes home from training too!