While I still have no news about the release of my next book, The King and the Calico…in London, all kinds of ideas are pinging around in my brain. 

I’ve posted before about my crazy dog, Miss Fee, and recent events have only proven I’m on the right track.  She is just full of personality.  And seriously, sometimes when I’m writing, she comes up next to me whining, and it’s like she’s saying, “Come on, Mama, put me in a book.”

My publisher also plans on the King and the Calico books being a series set in the most tourist-attractive cities in the world.  So, you can expect my odd couple cats to appear in such places as New York City, Rome, Munich, and I-don’t-know-where-else (yet).  My kids would like me to set my cats in Montreal, because they loved it so much when we visited this summer.  And some friends suggested Athens.  Who knows?

Our school year begins next week, which means I’ll have much less time to write, and will have to be very organized about all those pings.  A few secret projects are pinging around too.  You’ll just have to wait for those.  I haven’t yet decided how much and if I’ll share.  *rubbing fingertips together*  Yes, I’m being mysterious.  I love mysteries.

Hmm, there goes another idea.  *furious scribbling*

What’s pinging around your writerly brains, my writerly friends?

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I’m a Campaigner

Once again, the wonderful Rachael Harrie is hosting a platform-building campaign. I started blogging too late in the Spring to take part in the 2nd Writers Platform Building Campaign so I’m so excited to be able to do this 3rd one.

Basically, this is a way for blogging writers to find each other, make friends and support each other. I am still pretty new to all this social media stuff, so I look forward to making new friends and learning some new tricks.

For all the details, and to join in, please click here. Be sure to join before Rach closes the list on August 31st!

Okay, see you all around!

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

The first line of this picture book is one of my favorite first lines of all time: 

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Haven’t you had a day like that?  This one line really sets the scene for the rest of the book.  Alexander woke up so grumpy, his sentence doesn’t even have punctuation!

Published in 1972, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz, this book is still relevant today.  I first bought it for my older son, now 8, the spring before he started kindergarten.  He had been very emotional and displaying a lot of anger, but couldn’t talk about his feelings or the reasons for those feelings.  I spoke to our local librarian about books that dealt with emotions and she recommended this marvelous book.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, along with Mercer Mayer’s I Was So Mad and Betsy Everitt’s Mean Soup, really helped us a lot.

Now I read it to my younger son who is about to start kindergarten and who is experiencing similar anxiety, although displayed in a different way.  This child has become clingier.  He claims to miss me anytime I go anywhere, including when I leave him alone in his own bed at night.  Multiple sighs.

Expect posts soon on books to help prepare you child for kindergarten (I’ll take recommendations)!

What books have helped you and your children get through a difficult or unusual time?

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When Cows Fly

I have When Cows Fly by Tom Watson on my Kindle and it is a super popular bedtime option with my children when we travel.  FYI: This is a free ebook available all over the web.

A rhyming book with pictures, When Cows Fly, has a neat environmental message.  Jake gets back at the man in charge of dumping garbage near his land with the help of his flying cows.  There is not-so-subtle bathroom humor in it, which is of course what makes it so popular with my sons.

It’s a cute story.  My only issues with this book would have been easily solved by the involvement of an editor or an experienced critique group.  Most lines had no punctuation (even poetry needs punctuation) and there was some unnecessary repetition.

This ebook makes my kids giggle like maniacs and there’s no better sound in the world.  I bet this looks great on a color ereader!

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Can’t Sleep Without Sheep

In Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, by blogger/author/friend Susanna Leonard Hill, Ava counts a lot of sheep, which causes her fence-jumping sheep to tire of the job. They promise her they will find a replacement. But the pigs would rather eat and nap, the buffalo cause a stampede, and the hippos can’t quite make it over the fence. You’ll never guess what was wrong with the horse.

This book was a hilarious and ingenious addition to our bedtime repertoire. My son loves it!

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A taster of Paris

Today I am handing the blog over to Catherine M. Johnson, a writer of children’s stories in prose and in rhyme. Today on her blog she is reviewing The King and the Calico…in Paris. I hope you will stop by and visit her when you’ve finished here. She is sweet and insightful and worth the visit!

Hi there, I’m guest posting for Brooke today to give you a little taster of Paris.
I’m sure you will have seen some if not all of these images before, but you will savour Brooke’s tales from Paris that much more with a little Paris eye candy (not that sort sorry!)

First up the Eiffel Tower. The first landmark you think of when you think of Paris or France for that matter. Doesn’t it look amazing in this light? The perfect setting for a couple of cats to prance around.

The Notre Dame cathedral is not only a magnificent building, but the surrounding area is beautiful to walk around. The art for sale by the water and the cafes are so Paris. And I love watching all the bateaux mouches go up and down the Seine.

How romantic does this look in black and white. I can picture the cats splashing in the water and then scampering off.

I wish I could end this post with free tickets for all to Paris (one day, one day) but you could always soak up a bit more of Paris with The King and the Calico…in Paris!

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Blog Awards

I still feel so new to all this social media stuff. And yet I have been lucky enough to make some new writerly friends in the short time I have been blogging. Several of those friends have recently given me blog awards.

From Cynthia Chen of Read is the New Black and Tanya Reimer from Life’s Like That, I have received the Versatile Blogger Award.



From Kerry Aradhya of Picture Books and Pirouettes and Catherine Nichols of Cath in the Hat, I have received the Irrestibly Sweet Award.



There are various rules that come with these awards. Things like, I have to tell you some number of random facts about myself, and I have to pass the awards on to some number of other bloggers. I don’t yet follow that many blogs (other than the 4 above, of course), but there are a couple of people who have made this journey sweet for me, too.

I pass the Versatile Blogger Award to Ben Langhinrichs of My Comfy Chair.
I pass the Irresistibly Sweet Award to Susanna Leonard Hill.

Both have welcomed me on this journey with open arms.

For the random facts portion of the blog, I want to tell you about my dog, Miss Fee. She is part bull terrier and part boxer, which means she’s a super fast runner, hyperactive and very sweet. I’m sure she looks very scary to others, and has a deep bark, but she just wants to love and be loved.

We have had a mole problem in our lawn for more than a year (and a squirrel problem and a chipmunk problem and a deer problem, but no more rabbit problem since Miss Fee joined our family). Yesterday, Miss Fee was barking at the front window for a long time so I let her out to run. Several minutes later, I followed her out and found her playing in the grass in a way that has become familiar to us. Her I-have-found-a-playmate-in-the-grass way.

It was a mole.

At first I thought she was trying to hurt the mole, but it soon became clear that she was just trying to play with it. Her tail wagged lazily and she sat and watched it until it tried to get away. Then she batted at it with a paw. She did not bite it or growl at it. She just wanted to play. The mole, of course, didn’t know this and managed to escape her.

Someday I’d like to write about my Fee.

So there you have it. Do you have pets that look different than their personalities? Have they inspired your stories?

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