#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – Children’s Author #MikeAllegra

It’s time for another #TenThings guest, folks, and I’m very happy to say that today’s guest is a truly funny guy who loves some of the same things in life that I do, most notably, capybaras! I’ve been a fan of them for many years, and am looking forward to the release of Mike’s new book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles. I know you are going to get a kick out of his hilarious #TenThings list, so let’s get to it. Mike, the floor is all yours!


Thanks, Marcia!

I Once Owned A Gerbil Escape Artist:
Over my lifetime I have owned seven gerbils. All of them were awesome, but Little Alcatraz was easily the awesomest. He was smart, fast, and personable. He also escaped his cage on multiple occasions—not to get away, really, but to show off. As soon as he broke out, he would search the house for me so we could play. Seriously, how awesome is that?

I Got Sidetracked On My Way To Buy My First Car:
At 17 I had earned enough money through my many retail jobs to purchase an automobile. But when it came time to buy, I decided to get a rolltop desk instead. All of my friends found this purchase bewildering and stupid, but, 30 years later, all of their crappy Chrysler K-Cars have eroded to dust while my gorgeous oak desk—still polished and pristine—holds a place of honor in my living room.

My Car Should Be Dead By Now:
My current transportation, a 2004 Kia Spectra, is probably the smartest purchase I have ever made. Eighteen years and 180,000 miles later she’s still running strong. Sure, she might be a little pokey climbing hills. Yes, the air conditioner is a bit finicky. And I admit it’s getting a little hard to ignore the growing rust patches. She also kind of farts when I push the gas pedal too quickly. The radio is shot. And the Check Engine light glows in perpetuity. But as long as she runs, I’m keeping her. Here’s to 18 more years!

I Consider Harrisburg, PA, To Be The Perfect Vacation Spot:
I feel this way primarily because of the Midtown Scholars Bookstore. I love that store most than most people. I love the coffee and the book selection and the architecture and the chairs and the smell of the baked goods and I wish I could live there and all I need is a little apartment in the basement and can somebody please make this happen?

I Hate The Giving Tree:
I hate that selfish kid. I hate how the tree doesn’t know how to say no. I hate how unconditional love is paired with self-destruction. And I really hate how the kid never reflects on or regrets his unforgivable behavior. The Giving Tree a terrible book that advocates toxic codependence.

Could someone please write a sequel? Suggested title: The Giving Tree 2: Stumpy’s Revenge.

I Watch Carpet Cleaning Videos On YouTube:
I can’t even begin to understand how I fell down this rabbit hole. All I know is, once upon a time I watched this elfin Ukranian guy tackle a filthy antique area rug that was once used to line a chicken coop. I watched in awe as each pass of his power washer lifted away a new layer of dirt and grime. When he was finished, the carpet looked almost new. I was gobsmacked. From that moment to this, I’ve been hooked.

I Like To Yell At The New York Times Crossword Puzzle:
Once you get past Wednesday’s puzzle, Will Shorts at the New York Times shows off his devilish side. It’s maddening and exhausting and cuss-worthy and I kind of love it.

I Am Accident Prone:
I wouldn’t mind being accident prone if my injuries were the result of me doing something manly, but they aren’t. I once broke my toe descending a single stair. One. Single. Stair. On another occasion, I fell up the stairs onto the vacuum cleaner I was carrying, crushing it to pieces and turning myself into a human-sized dust bunny. My most notable injury, however, was when I tore the ligaments in my finger while tucking in bedsheets. I had to wear a splint on my hand for six weeks because I like hospital corners.

I Am Probably The Only Person On Earth Who Thinks Rabbit Is The Best Character In Winnie the Pooh:
Poor, put-upon Rabbit is the smartest and least-appreciated resident of 100-Acre Wood. Sure, he’s crabby, but I think he has every right to be; Tigger keeps jumping on him and Pooh’s fat butt is blocking his front door. Cut the bunny some slack, okay?

I Was Into Capybaras Before It Was Cool:
I first read about these ginormous rodents when I was six; I was enchanted. I always loved rodents, but the idea that there was a rodent in South America the size of a dog was just too wonderful for me to contemplate. Someday, I told myself at the time, I shall tell the world about these amazing critters.


Mike’s new picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) will hit store shelves in October 2022. You can preorder it HERE  now!


Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 books for children including the picture books Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.



A Few More of Mike’s Books to be Found on His Author Page

You can reach Mike on Social Media here:

Website
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Update – #GuestPosts

Happy Wodin’s Day, Everyone! Hope your week is moving along smoothly, and that good things are abundant in your life! Maybe you’re enjoying autumn weather already, and if so, I envy you. It was 94 degrees here yesterday, so summer has definitely overstayed its welcome. BUT … with a hurricane brewing in the Atlantic, it could definitely be worse, so I’m still feeling grateful. So far.

THIS

 The first thing I want to share today is that I went to my new audiologist yesterday for a WAY overdue hearing exam. I knew I needed new hearing aids, but really had no idea how much technology had advanced since my I got my last pair five or six years ago. What can I say? I’m amazed at the vast difference in the fine tuning for my individual hearing issues. AND … I learned something I’ve never known in all the years I’ve been using computers. The mouse makes an audible CLICK every time you “click” on something. Even before my hearing got truly bad, I never, EVER heard that noise. But because they can now adjust for specific hearing issues, including low-pitched or high-pitched sounds, as you might need, I now am very aware of things I’ve been missing out on for several decades. Wow!! Color me HAPPY!


  THAT

I definitely see at least some improvement in my Long COVID issues. My three symptoms (extreme fatigue, dizzy spells with tingling and numbness in my right leg, and brain fog) are decreasing in severity, and SEEM to be of shorter duration each time they visit. And I’ve had as many as five days in a row with NO visits, too.  Used to be only 2 or 3 before they showed up. Now they are farther apart and seem to be going away in a day or two, instead of 5 or 6 days at a time. SO … hurray! I may actually get past this stuff, and back to nothing more than the usual aches and pains of someone approaching eighty. Color me HAPPY TWICE!!

  THE OTHER THING

And last, I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with setting up all my newly referred doctors and specialists (primary care, cardiologist, dermatologist, vision, audiologist, and more). That includes scheduling New Patient Visits for each, and being sure they were located reasonable distances from my home. At the same time, I’m taking care of several time-consuming but necessary house and yard jobs around here on days when I felt physically able to handle them. Urk.

So now, I want to apologize for not being able to visit all my favorite blogs in a timely manner, and falling down on my weekend #Twofer blogs, etc. I have had to accept that I can’t do as much as I used to do, at least not at the moment. (Hopefully, that’s just a temporary thing.) With that in mind, as CEO here at The Write Stuff, I’ve made an executive decision not to schedule any more guest posts this year, beyond the six I already have set up. I’ve also cancelled my December wildlife talks, and the like, though I HOPE by then, I’ll be ahead of the game, and can actually take December off for holiday things and a bit of fun, rather than still playing catch-up at a frantic pace.

I plan to resume regular #GuestDayTuesdays & #TenThings posts in January, and will put out a call for folks who’d like to visit us then. In the meantime, I do  have the six aforementioned guests lined up for you and trust me–you don’t want to miss any of these fun and entertaining posts!

9/20 #GuestDayTuesday: D. Wallace Peach /The Necromancer’s Daughter
2/28 #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe: Mike Allegra 
10/4 #GuestDayTuesday: Jackie Lambert Writer’s Travelogue post Journaling Part 2
10/18 #GuestDayTuesday: Mike Allegra New Release post
11/15 #GuestDayTuesday: Jackie Lambert Writer’s Travelogue Series post

I know you ALL understand when Life doesn’t let you do everything you intended, but I’m really sure this is temporary.  I’ll still be posting once or twice a week or so, as I’m able, and I definitely plan to resume my normal schedule, guests and all, by January. I’ll still be checking in daily, posting when I can, and you can ALWAYS reach me via email.

That’s my plan, an’ I’m stickin’ TO it! (If the bridge don’t go, an’ the creek don’t rise, as they say in these parts. 😁)


And that’s it for today.
Have a great week, everyone!

#CapybaraAppreciationDay – #WhoKnew? – #MikeAllegra That’s Who!

“Almost Ready for Your Close Up, Capy!”

Yes, it really is a THING, and July 10 is it! If you don’t believe me, head on over to read Mike Allegra’s wonderful post on this very topic, with some of the cutest pics you’ve ever seen: https://mikeallegra.com/2022/07/07/is-there-a-capybara-appreciation-day.

I confess, I am a longtime capybara fan, but I know many of you may not really be familiar with this wonderful critter, let alone his very special DAY, so I thought I’d share Mike’s post. Do stop by. You’ll love it! (And you can find out more about Mike’s books there, too, especially his upcoming release, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles. I can’t wait to get this one for my granddaughter. And me! 😁

Capys heading over to the big
Capybara Appreciation Day Party!

#GuestDayTuesday – Featuring #Children’sAuthor #Mike Allegra

Today, I have the great pleasure of introducing an author new to The Write Stuff, Mike Allegra. Mike writes charming children’s books, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy getting to know him better. In fact, I recommend checking out Mike’s webpage later from the links below, and from there, his blog. Trust me –it’s wonderfully funny! And on that note, let’s get right to today’s post. Take away, Mike!


Thanks, for having me today, Marcia!

The Dusting Distraction

I am a children’s book writer. I am also a house husband. As a house husband, I have to do House Things like the shopping and the cooking and the bills and the cleaning and the laundry.

Lots of laundry, actually.

I’m still not certain how all that laundry materializes every day. Sometimes my son goes through two sets of pajamas in one night. Sheesh, kid, if the long sleeve jammies are too warm in the spring, just put them back in the drawer and put on the short sleeve jammies! That’s all you have to do. What you don’t do is throw the long sleeve jammies in the hamper. Wearing long sleeves for 20 minutes doesn’t make them dirty!

But I digress.

My point is, even if your house is small, the chores add up. Just when you think everything’s under control, there’s another shower to scrub or lunch to make or a whatever-it-is that needs a bit of whatevering.

In some ways, this is good for me. I’m kept busy. Idle hands are the devil’s blah blah blah. More importantly, my wife and son appreciate what I do for them.

On the other hand, chores give me a pretty dang good excuse to not write children’s books.

Writing is hard. When I’m between projects or I’ve hit a rocky patch in a story or I just can bear the thought of doing my jillionth rewrite, my attention drifts to my toilet and I soon discover a newfound sense of purpose.

How can I be expected to write, I ask myself, when that porcelain isn’t glittering?

This is a problem I think a lot of writers have who work out of the house instead of, say, in an office environment. At home there is no cleaning crew to whisk that cobweb off the ceiling. If you don’t go for the Swiffer, the web is stayin’ there. That nasty microwave in the breakroom is not someone else’s responsibility, it’s yours, because it’s your microwave and that breakroom is actually your kitchen. Home is where the heart is; it’s also where the distractions are. And that is how procrastination happens.

I think I know what you might be thinking right about now. I think it, too, sometimes: Is it really procrastination if you’re not farting around on YouTube watching baby goat videos? Is it really procrastination if you’re replacing one task with a different task? Is it really procrastination if what you’re doing instead of writing is something that really, really, really needs to get done?

Yeah, it kind of is.

Running a house is an important job. Crazy important. But writing is a job, too. And if you make a living at it like I do (or wish to make a living at it), writing also needs to be deemed very important. Time needs to be set aside for it. This isn’t easy. I’ve been writing children’s books since 2012 and I still need to remind myself that my Dyson vacuum (The best vacuum in the history of ever!) can, under specific circumstances, be just as insidious a timewaster as posting photos of toaster waffles on Instagram. 

It’s about balance. Emptying the dishwasher (or, fiiine, watching a couple of YouTube videos if you must) in the middle of your regularly scheduled writing time can be a nice palate cleanser. Breaks go a long way toward relieving some of the mental anguish of a Bad Writing Day. Just don’t let those breaks pull you away from the writing for too long. Set an alarm and jump back into the world of letters. Because if you don’t find the time to write your story, your story will never get written.

And don’t worry, a dirty toilet is patient; it’ll wait for you to finish that draft.

As for me, the last chapter of my middle grade novel is taking a lot longer than I had hoped. I need to devote more time to my writing. In other words, my boy is gonna have to learn the simple joys of going to sleep in sweatpants. That’ll teach him.


Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 books for children including the picture books Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.

His new picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) will hit store shelves in October 2022. You can preorder it now!

You can Pre-Order a Hard Copy of Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles HERE

A Few More of Mike’s Books to be Found on His Author Page

You can reach Mike on Social Media here:

Website
Facebook
Amazon Author Page