Hazel Intermews “Super Happy Party Bears” Author Marcie Colleen!

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Hello, Everypawdy!

Hope you are having a great week! I met Marcie at her talk on how to write chapter books. Marcie wrote a bunch of chapter books about bears who are super happy and love to party!

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I am super happy to share our intermew!

Hazel Intermews Marcie Colleen!

Hazel: Hi Marcie! Thanks so much for being here! What advice do you have for bright young kitties interested in a writing career?

Marcie: “If you can dream it, you can be it.” Read a lot. Write a lot. Take classes. Attend book events and conferences when you can. And never give up on your dream. It will be hard work. It might take a while. But any dream of yours is truly worth it.

Hazel: Do you have any kitties or sock monkeys in your life?

Marcie: I do not have any kitties, but I do have a sock monkey. His name is Bloois. He is quite mischievous and therefore inspires lots of my stories.

Hazel: What’s your favorite sock monkey story?

Marcie: Bloois loves ceiling fans. He calls them “whirl-a-birds.” And although he is often content sitting on the bed, watching the “whirl-a-bird” spin around and around, one time he decided he wanted to ride it.

He climbed up (sock monkeys are very good at climbing) and hung from one of the fan’s blades. He then signaled one of his other stuffy buddies (Bloois is not an only child) to flick the switch. The fan started up and Bloois flew around and around, holding on tight to the blade of the “whirl-a-bird.” Until…he couldn’t hold on any longer and was flung off like a torpedo.

Luckily a vase of flowers broke his fall. But as he laid there, sopping wet and covered in petals, he was grinning from ear to ear.

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Hazel: What do the Super Happy Party Bears do when they aren’t partying?

Marcie: One might say, they are always partying. They have breakfast parties and lunch parties and snack-time parties and dinner parties. And doughnut preparation parties and “get ready for bed” parties and slumber parties. Every second of the day is reason to party, according to the Super Happy Party Bears. In fact, they even have “party planning” parties to make sure that each party goes off without a hitch!

Hazel: How did you learn to write for kids?

Marcie: Honestly, I read a lot of kids books. I think the best way to learn about writing a certain kind of book is to read widely in that format or genre. When I wanted to learn how to write picture books, I spent years reading every picture book that I could get my hands on. And I did the same to learn how to write chapter books. Read, read, read!

Super Happy Party Bears Excerpt

Hazel: What do you think a character needs in order to resonate with young readers?

Marcie: I try and write characters that are relatable and child-like so that my young readers can see themselves in my characters—even a grumpy porcupine mayor. I mean, who isn’t a little cranky and prickly once in a while? Add a few dashes of humor, a dollop or two of heart, and a whole lot of wacky adventures and readers will be turning pages well into the night (by flashlight, of course) to find out what the character will do next.

Hazel: Why do you think characters are so important to get right in chapter books?

Marcie: Chapter books are often a reader’s first step into independent reading. Therefore, characters in chapter books are like reading ambassadors. They welcome kids into their world to make them laugh, expand their horizons, and take them on exciting adventures. The more engaging a character, the more willing a reader will be to join them on the journey through a book, which leads to another book, and another book, building lifelong readers page by page.

Hazel: What’s the most efficient way you’ve found to take a chapter book from concept to completion?

Marcie: I imagine that the story I am telling is an episode of a cartoon. I outline the story from start to finish, placing chapter breaks where the commercial breaks would be. And then when I write, I visualize the cartoon playing out in my mind. It helps to keep the writing action and dialogue focused, and not rely too much on voiceover-like narration.

Hazel: Wow, what a pawtastic intermew! Thanks again, Marcie!

Super Happy Party Bears Partying

You can find the first “Super Happy Party Bears” book here, and pre-order her debut picture book, “Love, Triangle,” here.

Thanks for reading!!

Hazel

About Marcie Colleen

In previous chapters Marcie Colleen has been a teacher, an actress, and a nanny, but now she spends her days writing children’s books! She is the author of THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint, as well as LOVE, TRIANGLE, her picture book debut, illustrated by Bob Shea, which will be released October 3, 2017 with Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. She lives with her husband and their mischievous sock monkey in San Diego, California. Visit her at www.thisismarciecolleen.com or on Twitter: @MarcieColleen1.

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Caturday Intermew with Renegade Parenting Expert, Heather Shumaker!

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Happy Caturday!!

Today I’m so purry to share my intermew with Heather Shumaker, Renegade Parenting Expert, about her book, It’s OK to Go Up the Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids.

While the book is full of great tips for raising mini-hoomans, you can also learn a lot about raising confident and creative kitties!

Enjoy!

It's OK to Go Up the Slide book cover

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Hazel: Meows, Heather! Thanks for chatting with me today! What got you interested in writing?

Heather: I’ve been writing and wanting to be a writer since I was four. It’s a lifelong love.

Hazel: What is renegade parenting?

Heather: Renegade parenting means looking at things differently, and questioning standard parenting “truths” we take for granted. For example, “don’t talk to strangers” “share your toys” and “do your homework.” It’s renegade because it goes against the commonly accepted culture, but really renegade parenting is all about “Good, Basic, Universal Child Development Principles That Work.” It’s all backed up in research and is based on a foundation of respect for young children.  Kids have very different needs from adults, and adults don’t always understand that.

Hazel: Where did you get the idea to write about renegade parenting?

Heather: The inspiration came from an unorthodox preschool I attended as a child. My mother also taught there for 40 years. The school helps kids cope with their big feelings and welcomes their play – even rough-and-tumble play like giving kids boxing gloves and letting them get physical. This school, the School for Young Children, is a place where kids feel respected and learn skills that are essential to life: conflict mediation and expressing feelings appropriately.

Hazel: How might renegade parenting be applied to kitties? (If you have kitties or pets this would be a good place to chat about them!)

Heather: I think kitties would like my chapters on rough-and-tumble play.  Some people call it puppy play, but you might prefer “kitty play.”

Hazel: I do!

funny-cats-fighting-box

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Heather: All social and intelligent mammals do it when they’re young – playful wrestling and rolling around.  The more social and intelligent the species, the more they do it. It’s very good for the brain and great for social relationships – developing trust, impulse control, flexibility in thinking, and friendships. Unfortunately, many adult humans forget that and try to stop physical play between kids: “get your hands off each other!”

Hazel: Right! Or paws! What in your eyes is the biggest problem parents don’t know they have?

Heather: Parents don’t realize how afraid they are. This fear causes them to stunt children’s healthy development in so many ways. Fear drives homework assignments in kindergarten. Fear drives loss of recess. Fear keeps kids from playing outside and interacting with the world, taking healthy risks, even experiencing basic emotions like sadness, anger and jealousy. Kids have a lot to learn in the early years, and they learn life best through play and experience.

Hazel: How do you strike a balance between having kids learn on their own and giving them a structure to learn from others?

Heather: For young kids (up to age 8) most learning is done through play. True play has to be child-led and child-initiated. That’s how children process the world. Very little structured learning is needed in these early years, since young children learn through modeling (how to use a fork, say hello, hold a book). In fact, many lessons we try to teach kids don’t work at young ages. For example, we drill the calendar in preschool classrooms despite the fact that human development typically doesn’t develop the capacity to understand long periods of time until age 7. It’s a waste of their time. Kids are desperate for unstructured time when they can think their own thoughts and follow their own play ideas.

Hazel: What are you working on next?

Heather: I’m working on something different.  A ghost story adventure for 8-12 year-olds!

Hazel: Sounds pawesome! Can’t wait to read it! Thanks, Heather!!

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And thank YOU reader for reading!!

Headbonks!

Hazel

Caturday Intermew with Poptart!

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Happy Caturday, Everypawdy!

Well, not quite Caturday! But our guest today has an auction that ends tomorrow, March 7th, so I wanted to share our stimulating chat today so you can get a chance to bid if you like!

Meet Poptart!

Hazel: Hi Poptart! What inspired that cute name of yours?

Poptart: Oh the little humans in the house! At first my name was J. Lo when I was at the shelter and that was changed very fast mol.

Hazel: Mol!! J. Lo is an excellent name for a kitty. How did you find your forever home?

Poptart: My people really wanted a kitty to help one of the little humans cope with the loss of Mama who went to the Rainbow Bridge. She would sleep with the little boy human and he was so very sad so they saw me and I just insisted they pick me and for the longest time I slept wif him and helped him heal from his sadness.

Hazel: Aww, that’s so sweet, I did a lot of healing for my humans too. What’s a funny cat thing you do?

Poptart: I used to play hockey with my mousie toys but now I think my funny is how I run down the hall when mommy gets ready to feed me my special food and I meow and run at the same time and it sounds like me ow ow ow ow ow and then before she puts the food down I meow and roll back and forth on my back till she is done putting it down for me!

Hazel: Haha you’re an athletic kitty! You’re also in Dancing with the Stars, Kittyland Edition! What kind of dance do you like?

Poptart: I like to dance to all sorts of music actually! But our last song, “A Thousand Years,” by Christina Perri, was chosen because of my love for Bob and I thought it was just the purrfect song for us!

Hazel: Which charity are you dancing for?

Poptart: The charity is Forgotten Felines of Maine and their mission is this:

Forgotten Felines of Maine is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation dedicated to:

  • Educating the public about free-roaming cats by providing literature and advice on caring for feral, stray, homeless and abandoned cats.
  • Assisting in humanely reducing cat overpopulation with Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) programs.
  • Providing access to spay/neuter services and helping to place adoptable cats in loving homes.

Hazel: You also have an auction going on right meow, which ends March 7th. Can you tell me more about that?

Poptart: The auction page is for all paws in need, not just kitties, and it is to help with medical bills. We have a private account that is specific for the auctions. I have lots going on this time. This auction is for ME this time to help defray the cost of my bills because I had to have all my teeth removed due to my stomatitis. We have custom painted glasses from Chunkie Crafts and a blanket from Prince Pan Pan and one from Mothwing and kitty toys from Hallman Crafts I really do not want to leave anyone out. Mew can visit the page it is called Poptart Power of the Paw Auctions for those in need.

Hazel: What advice do you have for bright young kitties hoping to make a difference?

Poptart: Please be kind to one another first and foremost! Also if you think there is something wrong, please check it out right away! Also my rule of thumb is this Every Paw Matters!

Hazel: If you could say only one thing to a potential new or existing friend, what would you like them to know?

Poptart: I am an equal opportunity kitty! Ebbery animal or eben humans can come to my page! I am a Happy Kitty just trying to spread the love and also help out any way that I can.

Hazel: Thanks Poptart!

And thank YOU readers for reading!

Sandpaper kisses,

Hazel

Birthday Intermew with Scratchz Padz!

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Happy Almost Caturday, Furriends!

Today we have a very special intermew from Edward David Alexander! You may know him as Scratchz Padz, he makes all those beautiful RIP images we see when one of our kitty friends crosses the Rainbow Bridge, including this recent homage to the late Sir Houdini.

Sir Houdini

You can check out his work on his many pages here, and be sure to wish him a Happy Birthday! He’s celebrating his 54th!

Hazel: You’re the artist behind all those beautiful RIP signs we see on Facebook! How did you get started?

EDA: I got my start in pro art as a young man, so before I was even 18, back in the mid 1970’s as a pro tattooist. How I started on the Facebook RIPs…well I was friends with the old RIP maker before he passed, and the first online RIP I did ever make and post was for brother Paul N when he passed. I didn’t know that at the time, brother Paul was teaching me to take his place.

Hazel: Do you have kitties of your own? What are their names, and what are they like?

EDA: Yes, I have currently 3 gal kitties & they do have their own Facebook pages: Sweety & Cat Friends of CCC and Ginny & MoMo (hyperlinked above).

Hazel: What have you learned from helping so many people heal from their loss?

EDA: Oh yeah, ask the tough stuff! Well, to be totally honest, I am not sure what I have learned but this: that few words are best, to have a firm hand and strong heart, and to use my empathic powers.

Hazel: You were told in 2011 you only had 2-15 months left, how has that changed your perspective, and what kept you going?

EDA: You have to do what you love and love what you do.

Hazel: What would you say to humans who are still recovering from a pet loss?

EDA: There are always the basic same stages to this: first is shock, then sadness, then emptiness…there is no time limit to these as each person is different and heals differently.

Hazel: Who’s waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge?

EDA: I am sure every cat I have ever had is there waiting. After 54 of me loving and having cats, the list is to long to put here, but all cats go to the Rainbow Bridge or heaven to wait for us.

Hazel: What would you like future readers to know about you and your work?

EDA: It has been a 50+ year dream of mine to share and give to world my art work. It is the best and last gift I have to give to the world. Thank you, Hazel Fluffypants, for choosing this human to interview, and I hope I did well answering! 🙂

Thanks Scratchz! And Happy Birthday!!

A cordial purr,

Hazel Fluffypants

August Intermew Blitz with Miss Becky!

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Day 7 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Miss Becky!

Advice?

I think the first thing that is important is to really love spending time with other furry friends. Then, to have compassion and love for others. Mix all of this with fun adventures and pictures.

Inspiration?

Oh, that’s an easy one! MY Auntie Beth and her two wonderful kitties, Jake and Elwood. They are known as The Royal Ruskies.

Entertainment?

Well, in books, I love any that are about my fellow kitties-such as Lola the Rescue Cat, as well as Nursery Rhymes. As to plays, my favorite are those done by my buddies, Fatboy Babuska and Prince Pan Pan. For TV, paws down, my favorite is Sprout!

Politics?

I think it is exciting that Hoomans are finally realizing how fabulous we felines are.

Dream Date?

Dinner with Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy would be my choice. We could begin with Niprinis, then Tuna Cordon Bleu, followed by a lovely Herring Mousse. We could discuss the wonders and intelligence of Felines in today’s world.

Mistakes?

Mistakes-and what I have learned from them….Hmmm…Probably the biggest is not to nip at my Mommy when I would like more nomnoms!

Conclusion?

To my old and new friends, I appreciate chatting with you and your letting me come into your home and share love and smiles.

Thanks, Miss Becky!

August Intermew Blitz with Sophia the Three Legged Kitty!

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Day 6 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Sophia the Three Legged Kitty!

Advice?

Just to be very sweet and sincere! Always be kind. Appreciate and love your fans!

Inspiration?

Homer the blind cat! He was a very strong kitty that overcame being blind and lived a normal, happy life!! The momma also loved his book!

Entertainment?

For books I’d say Homer’s Odyssey (I love Homer the Blind cat!!). I also love horror movies. I like to sit next to the momma and daddy and watch scary movies! As for TV, I watch whatever the momma likes, like the Walking Dead and Once Upon a Time!

Politics?

I think the rise of [cat power] is great!! I think more kitties will get homes! Two of my sisters and I were strays at one point so hopefully the rise in power will make people want to adopt more!!

Dream Date?

Hmm… Maybe Tara the cat. Kitty food or chicken! Preferably at my house! I don’t like to leave my house.

Mistakes?

Do NOT trust cars!! I trusted cars once and I lost my leggie! They are evil!!!! The momma keeps telling me that they aren’t all evil but I don’t believe her!

Conclusion?

Hm…I would say just that I love all of my followers!!!! (Heart Symbol)

Thanks, Sophia!

August Intermew Blitz with Zamboni the Cat!

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Day 4 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Zamboni the Cat!

Advice?

On da web, wut yew do iz start visiting other pages cuz dem iz awsum and intraduce yerself. Dem iz so kind and shares da page BUT yew got to amember to pay it forward and share too, and share da new frenz as dem comes to yew!! Itz also important to visit yer frenz pages too and acknawledge da comments and posts made on yer page! Be nice and don’t be meen cuz dere iz enuff meenness in da werld already!

Inspiration?

Dere iz so many inspiring furbabies who haz had to overcome different things and we luv so many, so mine can’t pick just one… awl mine frenz iz awsum and has awl inspired mine in one way or another!

Entertainment?

Oh mine luvs anything with da cat in it Dr. Seuss Cat in The Hat is good! Mine luvs watching da aminal shows speshally with da lions and birds in! oh, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof iz da classic Who duzint luv Garfield, and Puss In Boots? Oh and we iz looking forward to Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever movie

Politics?

Da rise of feline power… hazint we had it awl along? Mine thought we iz da king of da beests Da werld run by cats… awsum…. no more homeless or hurt furbabies… yes, a vision worth striving fer!

Dream Date?

Mine wud luv to have dinner with… OH…. since da Christmas iz coming… Santa Claws! Oh, wait datz Santa CLAUS! Yes! Tell himz wut mine wants fer da Christmas and to find out fer shur if himz iz real! Mine believes himz iz real but mine will take da pikchers to prove it once and fer awl. Not meet himz at da North Pole tho, cuz datz too cold. Maybe himz and da reindeerz can pick mine up and we dine on da tropical beech sumware… oh yes, dat wud be nice!! No snow, no cold…. uh huh!

Mistakes?

Mine haz made many mistakes and sumtimes mine lerns frum dem! Never climb 40 feet up da tree cuz it iz hard to come down again without da bumps and bruises Never wander off into da snow wen yew haz never seen snow before… yew end up getting stuck down a hill in da snowbank until da hoomins finds yew Never go snooping in da open closet under da stairs cuz da hoomins close da door and not know yew iz in dere Never crawl onto a storage container dat iz close to da shelf cuz yew get stuck and look like da flattened kitty wen da hoomins heerz da meows and finds yew in dat closet Never find da opening in da laundry room and start walking along da rafters cuz den yew find da drop ceiling and think itz stable but itz not and yew fall thru da seeling onto da couch below Never take a turn in dat same opening and walk on top of da duct work cuz it makes da banging sounds and freeks da hoomins out hehehe… okay, dat one wuz da good mistake

Conclusion?

We iz awl different in different ways and itz our differences dat make us yewneek and who we iz.

Thanks, Zamboni!