A place to hide

Lately we have noticed that in the hotter days of Summer (yes, we do get a few here in Ireland), both dogs appear to disappear.

So I investigated. His loud snoring does have one advantage. He is easy to find.

When i did I discovered a really neat house.

The weeping willow has grown and its drooping curtain of branches forms a perfect hideaway for both dogs. Though, I did get the impression someone was not happy that I discovered their secret.

 

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Bob on exercise

We took the (home made) agility gear out and Ellie did her usual, raced over jumps, through the tunnel and kept on going for a few laps until she had taken the tunnel apart.

the best way to use buckets.

We spent quite a bit of time trying to persuade the Bob to have a go. There was no treats in my pocket so the best he could manage was – a roll over!

dav

Summer Fruits

The problem with a big garden is you spend most of your time in it weeding. Sitting in it and reading are dreams of the future when life calms down.

So with June’s great burst of sunshine we were happy to discover fruit! Strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants trotted out – together. I am not complaining and neither are my two four legged friends who, as you can see, enjoy the fruits of the summer.

Bob, loves strawberries and Ellie loves raspberries, so we generally get to eat all the blackcurrants!

mde

I know she dropped one

 

dav

If I am very quiet…then…

dav

Caught!

 

What we brought to the School visit,

We brought a lot of goodies, a lot of preparation (which went straight out the window) and of course the main attraction – The Schoolhouse.

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Once the 2nd Class students saw him, it was question and answer time. And all of the good advice we got was spot on.

We did need plenty of water, tea and coffee afterwards.

The questions were interesting, “Did you always want to be famous?” This one had us dancing on the moon.

“Were did you get your idea from?” This was asked of both Sara and myself, along with, “How exactly do you pronounce your name?” and then out of the blue, “What is your favorite color?” & “I scored for our football team last week.”

Yes it was a fast and furious session.

We were impressed by the fact they all expected a sequel to the book, in fact many.

Colin, their teacher had set them all interesting projects to work on – for example they each had to draw one or two of the smaller characters featured in the book.

It was a terrific learning session for both of us and we enjoyed our visit. In fact we learnt as much from them as they did from us. We left feeling ten feet tall.

I would like to thank the Principal Ms. Ava Boyle and Colin Wickham, for allowing us the opportunity of meeting such a great bunch of kids. And yes I would encourage other authors and illustrators to step out from behind the pages of their books to go meet their readers.

Their review has since appeared on Amazon.co.uk

5*

Absolutely brilliant! Great novel to use for school children.
Review written by:
Second Class Navan Educate Together NS

We are a school in Navan, a town in Ireland. We read “The Runaway Schoolhouse” by Maria Matthews in May 2017. The pupils in our class are aged 7, 8 and 9 years old.
We could not be happier about the book. We found it extremely funny. There are lots of exciting adventures that the Schoolhouse Clearie, the teachers and the pupils get up to.
We all really enjoyed reading the novel and would recommend it to any child, teacher or school who wishes to use it for lessons.
“The Runaway Schoolhouse” even made some of us cry with laughter.

Would definitely recommend the book to any teacher to use it for English and Art lessons, it’s jam packed with a creative, funny and unpreditable story line and the pupils in our class were captivated by the novel.

As a teacher I will certainly be using this novel again in future classes!

Help, tips and advice sought – Please.

We, (Sara and I) have been invited to visit a local school and talk to the class of  8 year old pupils about writing and illustrating. The children have been reading our book and have each done a project on it, so I am looking forward to the visit though, I am a wee bit wary. I mean, I have been in classrooms with kids of this age before and you have to be ready for anything. So, with that in mind, I have loaded up on goodies (paint sets, brushes and sketch pads, along with a giant bucket of marshmallows).

What else do you think I need to bring?

The Runaway Schoolhouse

Saturday afternoon games or why I don’t like thick hedges.

My Saturday afternoon was taken over by a game of soccer. I wasn’t watching it, as it wasn’t on TV, or on a local pitch.

I will start at the beginning. The dog next door was barking, not unusual so I paid no attention while I was gardening, weeding to be exact.

The two young voices got me curious.

“I wouldn’t go in there. He looks mental.”

“Hey anybody at home?” This was repeated over and over again.

I stood on a bucket and peeped over the wall. “What’s up””

“Ah missus, this dog is sounding and looking a bit mad. Our ball is in the back and we dare not go in.” The speaker was ten at the most and was twisting the ends of his tee shirt around his hand as he spoke. His friend was hanging back close to the road in case the old woman turned out to be as crazy as the dog.

I nodded. “No bother, just go round the back of the house and tell me where you think it is.”

Easy peasy, I thought as I walked through my garden and hopped the lower wall into my neighbours. “Hi Boot, ” I continued to talk to the black labrador who is overweight enough to resemble a sealion. He and I walked around the large house and entered the back garden. I stood and scratched my head. The hedge was almost as thick as the house.

So the next ten minutes were spent with me scurrying up and down the hedge, dropping to my knees and peering into it. Boot watched all of this with interest. I suppose it was the most excitement he had in hours.

We found, three footballs, one frisbee and one shoe. None of which belonged to the boys. However we did find their mate Derek’s ball. Finally, tired of wearing a hedge, I became Judge Judy.

“Right, here you go, Derek’s ball and one for you guys.” I handed the better looking of the two balls over amidst a protest of “we can’t take someone elses ball?”

“Well it is all I have, take it or leave it and if you are asked where you got it,” I hesitated tempted to say — don’t tell them it was me. “Tell them I gave it to you.”

I returned home wearing a good bit of that hedge along with scratches and scrapes. Could I count this as a random act of kindness or plain stupidity? I will let you decide.

 

The EDITING App You Need – Guest Blog Post by Kristina Stanley

Here is a great idea by an author for anyone else, who, like me struggles with editing.

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

dan your humble host

Kristina Stanley has been a friend of the blog for quite a while. As a fellow author she noticed several things we writer types struggle with and set about finding a way to help. I’ll let her explain, but it’s been a fun and enlightening journey watching this evolve.

Kristina is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her short stories have been published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and The Voices From the Valleys anthology. She is the author of THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES.

She is the co-founder and CEO of Feedback Innovations, a company started to help writers rewrite better fiction. She loves the self-editing process and wants to help other writers learn how to do a structural edit on their own work.

Today, I asked her to talk a little about an editing app she’s been working on.

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What connects dogs to their two legged friends?

Have you like me ever wondered about the strong bond we have with our canine buddies?

Scientists believe the answer lies in their genetic makeup. But you still have to wonder how or why they choose you from the many people they have met.

I have known seven dogs in my lifetime and on each occasion I was aware that the dog chose me or the family member they arrived home with. 

I am also aware of how they are feeling from the tone and variation of the bark. Ellie, the BC is a great example, if she is searching for an individual she becomes excited and yaps incessantly at the rescue group to hurry up. When she locate s or finds the person her tone is louder deeper and slower. 

They, get to know our feelings too. And if you have ever been ill or in pain you will know what I mean. Both of our dogs seem to search our faces, stare  into  our eyes before they decide if we need their assistance or company. I have witnessed Bob attach himself to one member who is asthmatic and allergic to many things. He knows before the rest of us that an attack is on the way.

 Do you agree or disagree with any of my observations?