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

Standard

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!

Super Happy Party Bears Books.jpg

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.

Hazel Reading Super Happy Party Bears.jpg

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.

Advertisements

The Case of the Missing Cat Food

Standard

After my post-breakfast nap this morning, I returned to my eating place to have some lunch.

And that’s when I discovered that my bowl was empty!

empty-bowl

Completely, utterly empty!

I put my paw in the bowl just to be sure.

hazel-checks-bowl

Yep. My food was gone, and so were my hopes of lunch.

Where did it go?

My first suspect was obvious:

Simon! The other cat I live with who sometimes sneaks food from my bowl.

“Did you partake of my sustenance?” I asked.

He swore on his whiskers that it wasn’t him. He was going to have a bite or two during my nap, sure, but by the time he got there, there wasn’t any left.

simon-empty-bowl

Hmm…maybe I was thinking about it all wrong.

I meowed for my hooman and said “hooman! You forgot to feed me today!”

hazel-asks-hooman

And he took one look at my bowl and said “I’m not falling for that again!”

I tried to persuade him, but it was no use.

hazel-asks-to-no-avail

Then I sat by the window to think.

Where did my food go?

hazel-looks-out-window-1

And then I saw a car parked outside…

hazel-looks-out-window-2

It was the Chipmobile!

That’s right, today was the 22nd! I had invited Blue Chip over today to celebrate his birthday and the autumnal equinox!

blue-chip

Photo Credit: Blue Chip

He brought me a plate of his own food from home, and I remembered that we had planned on trading cat food at my place before we went shopping at the catnip megamall with all our kitty friends!

We had a great time and got some good deals.

Happy Birthday Blue Chip!!

Hazel’s Book Club: “The True Tails of Baker and Taylor” by Jan Louch, with Lisa Rogak

Standard

 

Books and cats: that’s a winning combination!

What a sweet joy it is to curl up with a snuggly kitty (or if you are a kitty, like me, to curl up with a warm hooman) and read, connecting with thoughtful writers across space and time from the comfort of your favorite reading spot.

icanhascheezburger.com

If you love books, kitties, or both (and especially together), you will adore The True Tails of Baker and Taylor, the now-retired Jan Louch’s memoir about her life as an assistant librarian in a library with the famous eponymous kitty cats.

Photo Courtesy of Me

In 1983, at the new Douglas County Library in Minden, Nevada, Jan and a co-worker solved the facility’s rodent problem by hiring a pair of Scottish Folds, named for each of the names in the book distribution company, Baker & Taylor.

The cats not only ate lots of nummy mice, but they were also kitties! Visitors loved coming to pet the kitties and watch them do funny cat things, like catching Taylor in his Buddha pose, presumably meditating.

When the cats were photographed as the literal poster children for Baker & Taylor, the library turned into a popular tourist destination, and the Folds became pre-internet feline superstars!

nbcnews.com

A lovely tail in a cozy setting, the book also captures the fascinating ability of cats to facilitate hooman communities, a phenomenon not originated, but certainly amplified by 21st century technology such as blogging about your cat or blogging about being a cat.

The story represents a nostalgic slice of offline life. However, even though the internet has considerably changed the way communities form around information and cat appreciation, readers can still recognize the innovation of combining the two in a physical space in an era before they could be combined digitally.

Such spaces can and do still exist today, combining not only books and cats, but cats and other things cat fanciers might like. Cat Cafes, for example, are starting to pop up all over the world. They’re a great way to provide cats a home while also offering an opportunity for hoomans to prepare for the financial and emotional commitment of finding a cat to adopt you.

amazon.com

So enjoy this book as you would enjoy listening to anyone talk about cats, but I’d also encourage you to think about the timeless power of cats as a CATalyst (pun intended) for inter-specific community.

 

Caturday Intermew with Poptart!

Standard

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

August Intermew Blitz with Wilford Brimley, Persian Cat!

Standard

Day 21 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Wilford!

Advice?

I would just say listen to your audience…post pictures and the material that they like to see. Interact with your fans. They like that. Don’t just push them aside. You don’t have a popular page without a good audience!

Inspiration?

Oh, there are several internet kitties that inspire me. My mom just adores Grumpy Cat, so I suppose I do too. Of course I’m way out of that level of stardom, MOL. My girlfriend Lana inspires me, she’s on the page Khaleesi, Lana, and Dexter. I also really admire Blue Chip. He’s just so cool and I’m jealous of his wardrobe.

Entertainment?

I’m a cat…can’t say I do a whole lot of reading. MOL. There was that book about Dewey the library cat. I suppose that was a good one! I like watching TV with my mom though…she seems to be into Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead as well as a few others. We watch a lot of those Hunger Games movies. And she’s obsessed with Pitch Perfect. I could probably sing that soundtrack for you…

Politics?

Of course I love the rise of feline power! Us cats should control the government, I say. We’d do a better job that a lot of those people over there running it now! Being friendly to others, naps throughout the day, etc. We need to continue on our rise so that we can make this world a better place!

Dream Date?

I’d want to meet my beautiful girlfriend Lana and go have dinner with her. We could share a lovely tuna and white ocean fish meal…and I’d have a glass of vodka because well, I love vodka. What’s a romantic place? Paris? We’d go there.

Mistakes?

Don’t leave your vodka unattended…someone else will drink it. I can’t say it taught me a whole lot, just angered me. HA! Oh. And hide your straws. Otherwise the Mom will find them when cleaning, and then you have less straws.

Conclusion?

I’m an awesome cat, because I am named after a famous man with a funny mustache…and how many cats do you know who have a taste for vodka and straws?

Thanks, Wilford!

August Intermew Blitz with Jake the Purring Machine!

Standard

Day 18 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Jake!

Advice?

Be yourself. And find a human with more time on their hands to type updates (I’m hissing at you, Aunt M!)

Inspiration?

My (human) Mommy because she doesn’t give up!

Entertainment?

The Cat Who… mystery series by Lillian Jackson Braun. Those books make me purrrrr. I like it when my furless baby sister watches Bubble Guppies. They look tasty!

Politics?

I feel honored and humbled to be a feline! I think the world will be a much nicer place when cats take over everything… Catnip for everyone!!

Dream Date?

I’d love to invite a little black stray kitty named CJ for dinner. She shows up at Aunt M’s mom’s house to eat. I’d eat Fancy Feast there with her under the porch swing!

Mistakes?

Biggest mistake I made was jumping on the mantle and knocking off one of Aunt M’s breakable thingies. I learned not to jump up there anymore!

Conclusion?

I would say: “I love you!”

Thanks, Jake!

August Intermew Blitz with Oscar!

Standard

Day 15 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Oscar!

Advice?

Take lots of nice pictures for your audience to enjoy and try to be cheerful and uplifting.

Inspiration?

My brother Ben, he was so sweet natured and laid back, and I aim to be like him.

Entertainment?

I have come to enjoy watching Downton Abbey because my Mum loves it and I watch it with her.

Politics?

I think humans could learn a great deal from us cats with regard to dignity and common sense. We take time to consider the situation and only act when we have decided it’s appropriate. We never act hastily.

Dream Date?

I would love to have dinner with my namesake, Oscar Wilde, he was a talented and clever man who used humorous words to express how he felt about the world. We would eat chicken in a restaurant in Monmartre in Paris.

Mistakes?

Aaah one big mistake I have made is going outdoors when it’s wet because then one gets muddy paws and they are not really welcome on my Mum’s lace tablecloth!

Conclusion?

I think you would enjoy following me, because I can be witty and cheerful and it might lift your mood on a dreary day.

Thanks, Oscar!