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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The Case of the Missing Cat Food

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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!

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Completely, utterly empty!

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

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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.

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Hmm…maybe I was thinking about it all wrong.

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

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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.

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Then I sat by the window to think.

Where did my food go?

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And then I saw a car parked outside…

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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!

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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!!

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

So…What’s in the Ultimate Hazel?

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Happy Caturday, Everypawdy!!

Whoops, it’s Sunday! Well, it feels like a Caturday. Either way, I hope you’re getting a good chance to catch up on your beauty sleep.

It’s almost my naptime, but first I thought you’d like to know a little bit more about the Ultimate Hazel, now available on Etsy!

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So…What’s in the Ultimate Hazel?

Let me tell you how I got the idea, and why I decided to make them.

After being born in 2014, I started my blog and Facebook page and did a bunch of intermews, which led me to meeting Lynda Barry! She’s a masterful cartoonist and superstar professor at UW-Madison, and getting to meow questions at her has been one of my greatest honors. You can read our excellent chat here.

We hit it off over some catnip tea and tuna cookies, and over the holidays, she helped me finish my first-ever story, Flaky the Snow Cat! I got the idea after seeing Frosty the Snowman and wondering if there were snow cats.

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Flaky the Snow Cat tells the story of Nugget, a lonely black cat who runs away from home to ask Santa for a friend. I was struggling to get the words on paper, since English is my second language (after Cat), so Professor Barry taught me to tell the story with pictures.

The final product includes over 127 images in four separate zines (zines = handmade comic books). You can get the entire Flaky the Snow Cat in your Ultimate Hazel!

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Last spring, I took her Advanced Comics class, where I made Hydrated Tourist Penguin Goes to Paris! (which was purrblished by a local newspaper!) and “Fluffy:” The Cat Who’s Clearly a Snake and No One Notices, both also included in the Ultimate Hazel!

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Fluffy Action Shot

In March, I was invited to share my work at a local writing conference. When I told my furriend Mary about it, she wrote me a check to help cover the cost of printing. I couldn’t stop purring! For the first time, I felt like a Professional Writer Kitty! To thank her, I printed off every presentable story I had written.

It made for a nice little gift bag! I started printing more of my work and selling them at more conferences throughout the year.

Since it’s the holiday season once again, it feels like a good time to share Flaky the Snow Cat and the Ultimate Hazel (sounds like a band name!) with you, my beloved, kitty-loving furriends.

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Flaky the Snow Cat is pretty expensive to print in color, so that is why it costs $20. I just use my own printer, and color ink is so ‘spensive!! If you do happen to know of a cheaper way to print in color, let me know and I will send you an Ultimate Hazel for free! All of the professional printing services in my area ask for around 60 cents per page, which means I would have to charge almost 30 bucks JUST for Flaky the Snow Cat, and that’s just too much.

The Ultimate Hazel represents both a look back towards all the great work I learned how to make in 2015 while raising funds to produce more and even better work in 2016. Any proceeds that do not cover printing will help cover the cost of art supplies, table fees for conferences, and catnip and kitty snacks!

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You can also make a donation through PayPal now!

Thank you for supporting my kitty art and keeping me well-snacked! They make me feel better after the vacuum.

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However, if you’d like to read some Hazel Comics, but aren’t sure if you can afford the printed versions, just send me an e-mail at hazelfluffypants@gmail.com and I’d be happy to send you a digital version for free.

Happy Holidays!!

Love,

Hazel Fluffypants

Writer Kitty

August Intermew Blitz with Wilford Brimley, Persian Cat!

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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 Tippy the Toothless!

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Day 8 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Tippy the Toothless!

Advice?

Keep yourself well-groomed and take a lot of pictures! Don’t be too serious, though. Just have fun! If you have any brother or sister kitties, make sure to include them, too. Even if they stink.

Inspiration?

I have so many friends who inspired me, but I will go with Phang the Phabulous since he made a video to raise money for FIP research and I wanted to do the same. That’s why I started my page.

Entertainment?

Momma and I love to watch crime shows and silly end-of-the-world movies together. They are my favorite. Sometimes I help momma read her homework. It’s important to learn new things!

Politics?

Us kitties hold the world in the pads of our paws. Our web presence and our presence overall is just going to keep rising. There are some people who don’t like us, but we have to show them all of our good qualities and do our best to raise awareness and stop animal abuse. If we all stick together and use our power for good, I think we can do so.

Dream Date?

I would love to have a great big party and have dinner with all of my friends. There is a restaurant near me called Eggspectation that serves everything from breakfast to burgers so everyone could have what they liked. I would have scrambled eggs and crepes with crabmeat. Yummy!

Mistakes?

Make sure to check momma’s lap before I jump in it. On more than one occasion I forgot to check to see if Willy or Iris, my brother and sister, were already sitting there and that was no good! We get along for the most part, but I don’t like to be too close to them.

Conclusion?

Willy has a stinky butt!

Thanks, Tippy!

August Intermew Blitz with Audry’s Cats!

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Day 5 of my August Intermew Blitz! Meet Audry’s Cats!

Advice?

My advice is NIKE. Just do it! The crew and I have had so much fun interacting with folks…you get to meet people from all over the world. You get to see how kitties live all over the world. You get to swap ideas. Share stories. Help one another. It really is worth it ♡

Inspiration?

I have admired several kitty celebrity personalities over the years from Morris to N2. I figured if they can do it I can do it! I wanted to start Audrys Cats to promote helping cats in need as well as marketing the cat nip toys we hand make ♡

Entertainment?

We don’t watch TV. However we like movies. Family classes for us! We enjoy reading. We read the bible; history and science books. Craft books. The Daily News. The crew likes to be read to ♡

Politics?

I believe [cat power] always been there. I mean look at history. Even the Egyptians favored cats over dogs ♡

Dream Date?

Ellen. PBJ. Some small local business. She is a great pet advocate and seems like a down to earth person. I like to support local businesses. I’m not into fancy food ♡

Mistakes?

I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years. One of my biggest is not following my heart. I’ve wanted to work with animals all my I life. Instead I’ve been pushed into every other direction. I’m now putting my credits together to be able to become a vet tech. I Will work for souls who appreciate what I do for them instead of those who complain about everything ♡

Conclusion?

People often ask me why I help the sick; starving; forgotten feline. I say:”what if it were you…” Matthew 25:40

Thanks!