My first children’s book is finished. I didn’t think about it much, just wrote. Finally finished it and re-read it, then I edited it and re-read it again…you see a pattern here? Finally I decided to jump in with both feet and send it to my editor. She responded immediately with “What age group is this for?” “What?” I’d never given it a thought. I just wrote. What was I thinking writing a children’s book? What do I know about children’s books. I was hit with about twenty minutes of nail biting anxiety. Then I took a deep breath and asked myself some questions. 1. Did I enjoy writing the book? – YES 2. Am I expecting to sell a million copies? – NO 3. Why did I write the book? – Because I had a story in my head that needed to get out If nothing else, in years to come when I’m dead and gone, my daughter will be able to tell people I wrote a book about her cute little dog. Writing is an addiction, but not a bad one.
I started writing when I was in my early teens. It helped me get through some very tough times. My early childhood was terrifying, but thats a story for another day.
I was born with at turn in my eye, I didn’t even realize I had it when I was a young child, but as I got older, it began to ruin my life. Back in the sixties there was a TV series called Daktari, which was about a vet in Africa. One of the animals in the series was a lion called Clarence It was crosseyed. As an eleven year old girl I remember the boys in my village chanting “Daktari” every time I walked by. They never used my real name when they talked to me, but called me Clarence like the lion. It broke my heart. Luckily for me, during a routine visit to the doctor, he noticed the turn in my eye. “Wouldn’t you like to get that fixed?” he asked. “Yes please!” I had the operation just before I started High School. Of course some of those kids still called me Clarence, but it didn’t really matter anymore because the offending eye had been straightened. My eye was red and scarred for a couple of months. The scars on the inside were there for a lot longer. Life never lived up to my expectations back then and I rebelled against everything. I was obviously a troubled teenager, but back in the sixties in rural northern England, you just had to grin and bear it. Thats when I started to write. I wrote a different life for myself. I don’t have any of those stories now, but remember them well. They weren’t all about love and happiness, but they were about me, and I was strong. Writing is my therapy. I’ve written a couple of books I’m fairly proud of, with three more in the works. I’m an old girl now so I hope I live long enough to finish them all.
“Tess, where are. You?” You just shooed me away, now you are calling my name. I’m going back to bed. Sandra worried when she couldn’t see Tess anymore and finished her shower quickly. “Oh, there you are. Sleepy dog!” I’m not sleepy, I’m bored. “I need to get ready for work.” I’ve heard the work word before, I don’t like it. “OK time to make the bed and get the spare room ready for you, I really hope you’ll be alright on your own all day.” Once she’d covered the bed with Tess’s fluffy blanket, she threw toys around the room and made sure Tess’s bowls contained enough water and dried food to last the day. I know what’s going on now, you’re getting ready to leave me alone aren’t you. Just me, with no Fendi to keep my company, just me. All alone! “Oh dear, I don’t like doing this! Come on Tess, one more quick walk before I go.” Rabbits! Let’s find some rabbits! It was a very quick walk because Tess watered the grass as soon as they got outside. “Good Dog! Now I really need to leave for work.” I don’t want to go back inside. I want to play with rabbits. Tess had to be coaxed back through the front door. Sandra found one of the puppy toys you could hide treats in and put something in the shape of little chickens inside it. Tess picked up the scent immediately and followed her closely, until the got to the stairs, and then she had to be carried. “Oh Tess, I’m sorry I have to do this.” Sandra rolled the treat filled toy across the room. Tess ran after it immediately. Sandra shut the door and hurried downstairs. Silence! “Phew.” She got into her car and went to work!
This is my first children’s story. Inspired by Tess, a cute pup that belongs to my daughter and son in law. I looked after her for three weeks back in January 2020, before the world was turned upside down. It was an experience for me, never having taken care of a dog before. She won my heart and I found myself leaving work as early as possible because I worried about her. COVID/Trump/2020 sucked me dry. I had no imagination left. What spare time I had was spent getting my US house ready to sell. My heart ached because, although I really wanted to move to Italy, I was sad to leave my daughter and her pups behind. I was sad because I would be leaving my job and all of my friends, but it was time. Now I’m writing again and as I re-read Queen Tess – A short Shaggy Dog Tale, I realize I wasn’t capturing her character. She was a baby when she stayed with me. I had portrayed her as a much older dog. Now, as I re-write the story, I’m making her childlike, which of course she is. The re-write is fun. I laugh out loud sometimes as I remember the things she did. When my book is finished, what next? Who knows, maybe back to thrillers, or perhaps a travel story. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ll visit again! Stay safe.
I decided to amuse myself and write a children’s book while taking care of Queen Tess…lets see how it goes.
A Shaggy Dog Tale
Tess is a champagne colored bundle of fun. She’s a little chubby (puppy fat), and very young. Tess uses her big dark puppy dog eyes to her best advantage, and they are almost impossible to resist, even if you’re not a dog person. She lives with Fendi, Jo and Christian. Fendi is a pensioner in dog years, very smart, but a little grumpy and doesn’t have much patience with young Tess. Jo and Christian work very hard and every so often need a vacation. They love their pups dearly, too much to leave them with strangers, so when they decided to go on a Ski trip to Japan (who knew you could ski in Japan?). Tess, and Fendi got a vacation of their own. Fendi went to Steamboat Springs to stay with Christian’s parents, and Tess went to stay in Franktown with Jo’s mum, also known by both dogs as “The Treat Lady”.