We’re live now!
Come visit our brand new web site:
We’re also on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/OntheScenein19
And on Instagram too: https://www.instagram.com/onthescenein19
What's On the Scene? A creative group of debut picture book and middle grade authors publishing in 2019, and I’m one of them. I’m so happy to be in this great group of writers!
How did we meet? In a writer’s site! Someone in our group was wondering what to do because the 3 other debut groups were closed. Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw saw the post, and came up with a solution…make our own group. We started with 5 and closed out at 20. This is so exciting!
Come take a tour of the site with me. Do you see HOME? Click on WHO WE ARE to see our pictures and biographies.
Click BOOKS to see the covers and synopses. We have everything from picture books to middle grade novels. The best part about being in this group…I get to read them all. I can’t wait!
Cole Roberts is working on the cover and illustrations for my chapter book for grades 3-5. It’s amazing to see him turn my words into pictures. NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM will debut in May, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Thanks to Neil Armstrong, not only do I have a book coming out, but I also have a publishing company. When I decided to write about Neil last May, I couldn’t publish traditionally in time for his anniversary. That takes 2-3 years so I started looking at self-publishing houses. It’s expensive, but thanks to my friend, Donna, I realized I could do it cheaper, and better, by myself.
I didn’t realize how hard it could be. I’ve already hired and lost 3 illustrators, but it looks like #4 will be the charm. I’ve learned how to put together a contract for Cole and how to evaluate his art.
I bought a template for my story. I’ve had it for over a month. Today I got brave and transferred my words. I’m so glad there’s a you-tube video to help. So far so good! Tomorrow I’ll try to manage chapters template-style. The biggest piece yet to learn, how to input the illustrations when Cole’s done. Another adventure!
I’ve bought ISBN numbers. They track book purchases, and I started registering them. Almost finished! I also had to get an EIN number. EIN stands for employer identification number. It’s official! I have a business. If I make money on this book, I’ll get to pay taxes on the profit. Yay!
My latest adventure is learning how to market and sell a book. How? I’ll get publicity so that people hear about Neil’s story. I’ll tell them why it’s terrific and why they should buy their own copy. On the Scene is a fun way to get publicity for my book and for the books of my fellow authors.
Literary Festivals are another way. Donna suggested I do the one at Rose Glenn February 23rd. I was scared to death, but after some shopping today I feel better. I have a business card and a banner for my publishing house.
I’ve never done a festival so I’m glad I have friends to help me. And if I fail, Donna said I can learn from my mistakes. Here’s to my newest adventure, as publisher at Beach House books.
An Interview with Connie Bergstein Dow
Meet Connie Bergstein Dow through her interview on our website. She answered 6 questions about what it’s like to be an almost published writer. Her debut book comes out in March. The most important thing you should know about Connie is that she’s a dancer, that she’s always been a dancer, and that her debut book was inspired by dance.
This is Connie’s debut book, and it HAS energy! Her characters leap their way around the cover and through the pages. It’s a 4-fer for kids! They can learn their alphabet, be creative, get physically fit, and best of all, have fun. If you teach young children, this is the perfect book for you!
WELCOME. We Are Officially On-The-Scene
This was our first post, up yesterday. Today it’s below Connie’s, but it’s a great introduction to our group, and to the reason we all write . . . to have a child read your words. Here’s to being on the scene in 2019!
Last February I found a post about treats and what kind of people like them. It caught my eye. With Valentines Day coming up, I decided to share what I read, then tell what I think. Here’s the link. It’s no longer up, but I wanted to give it credit.
I read lollipop lovers are reserved. They take their time with lollipops, with other things too.
I think they’re just young. I loved lollipops when I was little. So did my second graders. Why? I think it’s because they love sweets that last a while.
Most adults don’t eat lollipops. Me neither. There are other sweets I’d rather eat.
I read dark chocolate lovers tend to be health nuts. They’re mature with a good head on their shoulders.
I think they’re just older. My second graders never brought in dark chocolate candy bars for a Halloween party, but my friends have it around. Me too! I started buying it when I needed to eat less sugar. Now I just like how it tastes.
I read that M&M’s are perfect for travelers, for people on the go. They’re ready to eat anytime, and they’re colorful like you.
I think they’re the perfect candy. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I bought them to treat my 2nd graders, but teachers would also come in and leave with a few. I think kids love their color. They also love eating one, or a whole handful. Now that I’m grown-up, I still like M&M’s, but I don’t love them like I used to. Taste changes as you age. You discover new flavors, and that’s a great thing!
I read gumball lovers are full of energy and ambition. They spring out of bed no matter how little sleep they’ve had. They lack only patience.
I think gumball lovers are full of energy because they’re young. When I was a kid, I loved them. You crunched them open and chewed them up like bubble gum. Now when I see gumball machines, I see kids. Adults get their gum by the checkout stand at the grocery store. No crunch necessary.
I read Reese Cup lovers are bold. They know what they want and go after it. Sometimes they’re called intimidating, but they’re a friend for life.
Wow! That’s a lot to get from peanut butter and chocolate. I’ve loved Reese’s Cups since I was a kid, and they’re still one of my favorites. Sometimes I’m bold. Sometimes I’m shy, but I think it boils down to Reese’s taste great, and they’re fun to eat. My take-away – they’re a life-long friend!
I read Starburst people are vibrant, yet easy going. People turn to you for advice, and you were a cool kid back in the day.
Frankly, I’ve never liked Starbursts. I thought they were boring, with their sweet fruit taste. Maybe that makes you easy going, but vibrant? Those are opposites. Maybe a Starburst lover can explain this to me because I just don’t get it.
I read licorice lovers are old school. They love black-and-white movies, hard-cover books, and following rules. They have a work ethic and discipline.
I should be a licorice lover. I’m into work and discipline, but not licorice. I don’t even know what it tastes like, but my kids do. They’re new school and modern technology. They love Twizzlers. Go figure! Maybe licorice is just a great mix of old and new.
I read Raisinettes bring out buttoned-up people who keep their personal and work life separate. They’re quiet till they’re ready to open up and have fun.
Raisinettes are chocolate-covered raisins. They’re traditional, and they’ve been around forever. I like them, but it’s not love. They’re sweet because they’re part fruit, part chocolate. Maybe that’s why when I eat one, I might eat ten.
I read people who eat Sour Gummies are impulsive, outgoing, and fearless. They live on the edge. They’re the life of the party.
Really? Just because you eat Sour Gummies! But I think you just might be fearless. You are eating something sour. And gummies, they stick to your teeth. YUCK! I’m not a fan of sour or gummy, and I’m definitely not impulsive, outgoing, or fearless. Maybe there is something to this candy stuff after all.
Are you an athlete or into sports? If you are, you might be a Snicker lover. I read Snicker people are also dog lovers.
I like Snickers, but I don’t love them. I’m not an athlete, but I like to watch sports. I love dogs, big time! Maybe I like Snickers more than I think. I’ll have to try one the next time I’m at the grocery store.
I read caramel lovers love learning. They’re the smart ones in your circle of friends. They like to learn from you. They’re shy in big groups, but outgoing with close friends.
Oh my gosh! I’m a caramel lover. I do trivia questions online. I don’t mind missing a question or two because I learn something new. Back in college I used to play down my grades. I didn’t want to seem too smart. I’m shy in a new or big group, but I love to laugh with friends. I think I’d better buy some caramels next time I’m at the store.
Lots of things have left the shop, but there are still some treasures to be found. Here’s a few pieces of furniture and accessories that she’s discounting at 75% off. Her last day will be next Sunday the 27th.
Rochelle still has magnets and cards in stock, and they’re both big sellers. I love her magnets! They’re on my refrigerator, and I’ve given them as gifts. The magnets are $1.50 each or 8 for $10. I have a trip to Rovals on my calendar for Wednesday. They open at 11 am and close at 6 pm.
The card pack is from her pet portrait line, but smaller. They’re cute outside and blank inside. Her deal this week… 6 packs of cards for $10. I definitely need these too!
This is one of Rochelle’s full-size pet portraits. She has a set of pets and farm animals that you can order from her web site. She has cards, like those above, or larger ones that you can frame.
If you have a special pet you want in paint, you can order a portrait from the web site too. Here’s her link: https://www.rovalspip.com
This is one last look at Rovals…I’ll miss shopping here, but I’ll miss my friend, Rochelle, even more.
But, there’s a bright side…there always is. Rochelle’s a Facebook friend so we can stay in touch, but it won’t be the same. Eventually there’ll be a Rovals in Illinois, and I hope I can shop there online. Fingers crossed!
If you want to shop Rovals, it’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 - 6. The last day will be Sunday from 12 – 5. Rochelle and Rovals is still open, but I miss them already.
I did a post about Working Dogs on December 16th, 2018. I got the idea from a book, Riley the Retriever Wants a Job. In the story Riley’s looking for the perfect job for a Golden Retriever like her.
Here’s the link for that post: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/working-dog
It ended with a picture and information about therapy dogs. That ending gave me another idea—to write a post, this time about Riley and Jill.
This is Jill Mangel Weisfeld and her dog Riley. They work as a team to visit schools, libraries, and retirement homes. Riley wears a uniform, her bandana. When Jill pulls it out, Riley gets excited. She jumps in the car, ready to go to work.
Some dogs aren’t certified, but Riley is. She started school at the Good Dog Foundation when she was 4. Some dogs start at age 1, but they have to be house broken. Who wants a guest who leaves a mess?
At school, Riley took 5 classes, with tests. She had to pass her finals to graduate. Every year Jill and Riley go back to school to be re-certified. Why? To make sure Riley’s still a good dog. I don’t think she’s good…I think she’s great!
Riley is a star. She got her picture in the paper with a new friend. I love the headline—A good listener. I bet Riley needed that skill to pass her tests. Here are a few she might have taken.
To be a good dog Riley had to listen and obey basic commands like sit, stay, come, and down. Looking at this picture Riley definitely sits and stays, but that’s easy when a kid will read you a story.
We can’t see what Riley does when she meets a new friend, but she passed all her tests, year after year. That means she doesn’t jump up, no matter how excited she is. She doesn’t bite, even if she’s scared or hurt.
Here’s another clipping of Riley. She loves books! Look at the little girl’s hand. It gives you a hint into another test Riley took. She has to let a stranger groom/brush her. She may even have to let that stranger hold her head and open her mouth, like they do at dog shows.
During the second half of the test Riley had to obey commands from that stranger. It looks easy peasy for her. She passes, year after year! She’s a great dog!
Riley also passed the polite leash test. She must walk through a crowd without jumping or nipping. She has to respond politely to distractions like honking horns or joggers appearing out of no where. Look at her politely listening to the girl reading. I bet if someone burst into the classroom she’d keep listening.
Here’s the link for these basic tests. There’s 1 more to go:
This is Riley out with Jill’s dad. She takes good care of him. If they meet another dog, Riley won’t fuss. She’ll walk politely past. If you want to stop and chat, tell Riley to sit. She’ll wait till you finish. This is the last and hardest test, to be polite around other people and their dogs. Riley can do it because she’s a great dog.
If you want to learn more about therapy dog tests, click on this link:
Riley took her tests with the Good Dog people. They’ve been training therapy teams since 1998. This year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary. Good Dogs work in Education, Health Care, Research, and in Disasters. If you want to read more about them, here’s their link:
Jill and Riley love visiting schools, libraries, and nursing homes around Westchester, New York. Riley is so popular! She got top billing on this love note from Class 1B, but they remembered Jill. With kids, dogs rule!
This is Riley at work, NOT! She does not have computer or writing skills, even though she loves a good story. Riley and Jill have been visiting libraries for over 7 years. They listen to children and let them practice reading skills so they become independent readers.
Jill got this story idea from their work with schools and nursing homes. She wanted to write a fun story that would also teach kids about working dogs.
Jill played with plot ideas until she came up with Riley searching for just the right job. The best place to search? ‘Doogle’ of course! I love the play on words.
Jill got help from Riley, of course, and from her mother, Deborah Mangel, who was a children’s author. The only sad part to this story, Deborah died before the book was published, but I’m sure she’s proud of it. The 3 of them succeeded in their goal…writing a fun story that teaches kids about working dogs.
The picture below gave me a case of mistaken identity. I thought Riley was at the library celebrating her new book with the librarian…WRONG!
This was a bookstore where they autographed Riley’s story. I’m sure Jill did the signing, but I hope Riley gave everyone a ‘paw-tograph.’ That’s a paw print autograph.
This isn’t the librarian or the store clerk either. It’s one of Jill’s daughters hanging out with their celebrity dog. Lucky daughter!
If you’d like to hang out with Jill and Riley, click on their link: http://peek-a-bear.com/
This is Riley, finally at the library! I’m so glad she found her book, but I think she looks better in person.
The Scarsdale Children’s Librarian has had Jill and Riley visit them for years. Now they’ll never leave unless Riley the Retriever is checked out, but I bet Jill and Riley like nothing better than sending their book home with a child.
I’ve never seen a dog at my library, but if you think one would make a great addition to yours, show this article to your local librarian. Ask them to check out Jill’s website. Maybe you can add a dog to your local library.
And if that works, show this to your teacher. Maybe you can have a dog visit your classroom. I’m a retired teacher, but I think it’d be way more fun to read to a dog than to me.
But if that won’t work, click on this link, and you can visit Riley anytime!
I had never heard about King Day. A writer friend, Keila Dawson, published this book 2 years ago. I read it and thought it was just a funny story. Thanks to Keila, this year I put king cake together with the holiday. It’s the reason for the season, for cake and for babies.
If you’re like me, read on and discover King Day. If you’re hungry, make one for yourself. And if you’re adventurous, take a trip down to New Orleans and meet one of its best traditions…King Cake!
Can you guess what King Day is about now? Google pulled up Martin Luther King, but that’s wrong.
King Day is about the 3 kings, the 3 wise men. Yesterday in church I finally put it all together. I knew King Day was January 6th. So is Epiphany. Our church sermon said it’s always January 6th, this year, next year, and in 2040. Epiphany and King Day are always January 6th. They’re the same holiday.
Here’s a link for more information:
I always think of the 3 kings arriving with the shepherds at about the time Baby Jesus was born. That was the Nativity scene I grew up with.
Now I’m wondering. Maybe the shepherds stuck around for the kings, maybe not. I know from my research and from sitting in church, that the kings followed the star from their own countries. They went to see King Herod. He asked them to find out about the new baby king and to report back. Then the kings continued on, following the star till they came to Bethlehem, to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. It would have taken a while to get there since they traveled by camel. It doesn’t matter if the shepherds were there. What’s important is that the kings gave him kingly gifts—gold, frankincense, myrrh.
We all know gold is perfect for a king. Frankincense and myrrh I’d never thought about. I googled them for you! Frankincense is a gum or resin. It’s used in making perfume and incense. People wear perfume and it smells good, but incense also burns. Back in Old Testament times, frankincense was part of the sacrifices burned for God, for Yahweh. That made it a perfect gift for baby Jesus, part God, part man.
Myrrh is a gum resin. It was used for making perfume, incense, medicine, and for annoiting the dead. Back in Old Testament times, myrrh was a popular perfume, perfect for a king. After crucifixion, Jesus’ body was annointed with myrrh. Symbolically it points towards Jesus’ death.
Check out these links to see Frankincense and myrrh, and to learn more about them.
This is King Cake! I can tell because it’s yellow, purple, and green. Those are Mardi Gras colors. It looks like someone already found the baby in the center. Do you see him?
You can make your own King Cake. Google a recipe, or try this one from Keila Dawson. It’s easy enough that a preschooler can make it with you, easy enough that a classroom could make one too. Keila once made 50 cakes with her son’s class. They sent them off to some wounded warriers in Germany. I bet they loved them!
This is Keila’s king baby, but this isn’t King Day, and there’s no King Cake. Keila’s baby travels everywhere with her, to places like tennis tournaments and restaurants. Lucky baby! Keila gave me permission to share these pictures. I wonder where they’ll go next. I hope it’s New Orleans!
Do you remember the King Cake colors, purple, green, and gold? They’re the colors of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They come out for King Day and hang around till Fat Tuesday. This year that’s March 5th, but it changes every year. King Day is always January 6th.
Here’s a link if you’d like to learn more about king cake:
King Cake has been around a long time, for over 300 years in France. The cake was made with French bread-dough. Sugar was sprinkled on top, and a bean was hidden somewhere inside. Whoever found the bean got to be king for the day. Tomorrow he/she was expected to buy or make the next cake.
This painting is from 1774. Its name— Le gateau des Rois. That’s French. In English that means the cake of the king. Click this link to learn more about the history of king cake:
King Day and King Cake are New Orleans traditions. Did you know that it was once a French colony? If you go to New Orleans you’ll meet a lot of French culture.
One of the traditions still around is celebrating Joan of Arc’s birthday. It’s January 6th. To the left is a statue of Joan. She’s famous because she liberated France from English rule.
The first parade of the Mardi Gras season is for Joan of Arc. It’s always on her birthday, January 6th. Here’s the link for the 2019 parade schedule: http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/schedule.html
King Day dates back to the old French and English holiday, Twelfth Night. In 567 the Catholic Church established The Twelve Days of Christmas, and they let you decide when to start your count, December 25th or 26th. That meant you celebrated Twelfth Night on either January 5th or 6th.
Twelfth Night is part of our culture. Shakespeare wrote about it in a play that was first performed in 1602. The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, was published in 1780, but its roots go farther back into French and English history.
If you celebrated Twelfth Night in 2019 you probably ate king cake, and you probably took down your Christmas decorations. I hope so…it’s bad luck if you didn’t.
Here are two links if you’d like to read more about Twelfth Night:
Here’s a Mardi Gras question from Traveltrivia.com. Only 41% of those who answered got it right. I didn’t. Maybe you will! The answer’s at the bottom of this post. Good luck!
Which city hosted the 1st Mardi Gras celebration in the US?
The first parades of Mardi Gras were on January 6th, King Day. There were 3 of them in 2019. This float wasn’t there, but it helps you picture what might have been.
The Joan of Arc parade was first. It’s a walking parade. If you want to join in, dress in gold, and bring lots of king cake to share.
The Société Des Champs Elysée parade is one of the newest ones. It’s named after a famous street in Paris, France. 40 people will ride in this parade. I wonder if their float will look anything like the famous French street.
The third parade is the Phunny Phorty Phellows. What a name! They’re one of the oldest krewes (crews) around. The Fellows believe in fun so they dress accordingly.
Bands and dance teams are also part of the parade. If you want to march, check the link below. Then apply between August and November.
There are 3 ways to watch the parade. It’s free if you pick a place along the street. If you want a balcony or grand stand seat, you can buy your spot. The better it is, the more it costs. The best place is aboard a float. It’s the most expensive, but you’re part of the parade. Start searching after Easter if you want to float down the street.
This site has the parade schedule, plus more information:
One of the best parts of the parade is all the free stuff. The people riding aboard the floats buy bags of cheap treasures. They throw out necklaces and toys. Always catch them. Don’t reach down to pick up them up. Your fingers might be caught. If it’s on the ground, put a foot on it. Then pick it up between floats.
Here’s one last link from New Orleans:
Here’s your answer from Traveltrivia.com correctly. Which city hosted the first Mardi Gras celebration?
Mobile, Alabama, hosted the first Mardi Gras festival in the U.S. back in 1703. Mardi Gras originated as a Christian celebration between the Feast of the Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. The very first Mardi Gras parade was held in 1711 and featured a papier-maché cow head.
I started by doing 3 things to my blank canvas. I drew lines for 3 trees, that’s the white areas. I painted the sky blue and the trees white using the biggest brush.
This is what I used to give the trees color. I was given white, black, and brown. I mixed white and black to get gray. Then white and brown to get tan.
I picked up three colors at a time on my knife. I pushed them from one side of the tree to the middle. Then I repeated it on the other side. Sometimes I loaded my knife with white, gray, and black. Other times I used white, tan, and brown.
And that’s how I shaded the trees. All 3 are different, depending on the colors I put on the knife.
The next step was to add brown branches to the painting. I laid the cardinal on the right where that big empty space is. Then I sketched in lines and painted them brown. This time I used the green handled brush.
I painted the branches bigger, and I added smaller twigs, all in brown. With the yellow brush I swept in black lines to give the trees more definition.
I added dots of snow to the top of the branches. Do you see the wisp of white in the top right corner? It was a mistake. I asked Melanie about covering it up. I decided to keep it. Take a look at the picture below…she was right. It blends right in!
Let it snow! I dotted and swirled in more snow to the branches with the green and yellow brushes.
I used the biggest brush to add snow to the sky. How? It’s called dry brush. I dried off the brush, dipped it in white, and dotted my plate till I was happy with the snow. Then I repeated the technique on my canvas till my sky filled with snow.
At last! The cardinal’s here! I drew it in first. Then I outlined it in red, except for the beak. Three coats of red covered the background.
And of course, I did the beak with the same procedure…outline, then 3 coats of orange.
The finale! It was all about the bird! I added a black mask for his face and a white dot for his eye. Then I outlined his wings with brown. It reminded me of making ( )’s. Then I swept in more feather lines with brown. I added orange accents for the feathers.
Confession—I didn’t like his beak or his mask so I fixed them with sharpie markers. Of my 3 paintings, this is my favorite.
My take-away, relax and enjoy! This time I didn’t worry about every line. I didn’t worry about what everyone else’s painting looked like. I trusted the process, and my teacher. It worked so don’t worry! Be happy! Enjoy the journey!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!