An Interview with Jarm Del Boccio
Meet Jarm Del Boccio! Her name is pronounced Yarm, and her interview is On the Scene, on the blog button. Jarm lives in Chicago with her son, daughter, and husband. I wonder if she’s met Malayna Evans. They both live in the Windy City. If not, I think they should do lunch!
Jarm is a former teacher and librarian who’s traveled all over the world checking off destinations on her bucket list. She’s thankful for all the places she’s seen and the things she’s been able to do. I need to start a bucket list too!
This is Jarm’s cover. It’s gorgeous! She based it off her daughter’s photograph. Wouldn’t you love it if your mom did this?
The hook . . . can an Israelite captive torn away from her home, serve the man who destroyed it? That’s exactly what Miriam is asked to do. She is chosen to serve the wife of Naaman, you know the one from the Old Testament? This is like hearing the story behind the story, of how Miriam faces her captivity and her bitterness. She learns from the Heart Changer that she’s being prepared for a greater mission, one that will change Naaman’s heart and the course of history.
Confession – I’m reading THE HEART CHANGER and living Miriam’s journey with her. I’m on chapter 7, and I’m hooked! I’m also hoping it can help my own heart! I have trouble showing ‘it’ in stories. Here’s hoping THE HEART CHANGER will help my writing heart!
This is the exhibit that started it all. I volunteer at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. I was thinking about becoming a docent. That didn’t happen, but the experience led to a book idea.
In early 2018 I remembered seeing a remnant of Neil Armstrong’s original wind tunnel. I couldn’t believe he did it for his senior physics project. He was only 16. I don’t think I could have done it at age 18. Neil must have been incredible!
On the far left is what’s left of the wind tunnel . . . the cover to the motor and a piece of track. That’s it!
To the right is his Boy Scout Scarf from middle school. Neil was in a troop in Upper Sandusky. When he moved to Wapak, his whole troop signed it. The wooden square is part of a generator Neil built when he was still in Upper. It’s a different project, but a great story. Maybe someday I’ll write it.
Here’s a close up of the scarf and the generator.
In April of 2018 I started a class with Mira Reisburg and the Children’s Book Academy. In the first webinar Mira asked for two opposite ideas. She said they could lead to a story. I didn’t know it then, but she was right!
I told Mira the first thing that came into my head . . . Neil Armstrong built a wind tunnel in his basement, and his mom didn’t know the details until she came down and saw it in action. Mira liked the idea, and it wouldn’t leave me alone. It grew, and it grew until I knew I had to write the story of Neil Armstrong’s wind tunnel.
In May I started to research my idea with one of the museum volunteers. He asked me about this book. I thought my idea had been taken, and that I needed to let it go.
I talked to a friend who said, maybe, just maybe, my idea was different from this one. I bought the book and discovered it was a biography of Neil Armstrong. My idea was about the wind tunnel only! What a relief!
I went to work researching Neil and his wind tunnel. I checked out books from the library. I googled websites, and I read an interview Neil did for NASA.
I discovered Neil was inspired by the Wright Brothers. Their wind tunnel is to the left, but I never found a picture of Neil’s.
Here are the only three facts I could find: 1. Neil used stovepipe, a motor, a rheostat, and a propeller. He got the stovepipe at the junkyard. 2. Neil blew lots of fuses by adding in the rheostat. 3. When Neil showed his Mom the wind tunnel, he sent her robe flying and broke a basement window.
Photo Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers#/media/File:WB_Wind_Tunnel.jpg
I used those 3 facts to start writing Neil’s story at the beginning of June. I also spent the summer looking for an illustrator and for a way to publish this story. It was a busy summer!
An Interview with Lisa Kalma
Meet Lisa Kalma! Her interview is On the Scene, on the blog button. It’s where you can read about her life down under!
Lisa is Australian, but she’s a lot like me. She’s an author and a primary teacher, but she’s taught preschool to class 6 (6th grade). She loves building kids’ literacy skills with great books. She also reads aloud with lots of personality. Me too!
Lisa lives with her husband, son, and elderly cat in Canberra, Australia. She’s very creative. She’s been writing and drawing stories and poems as long as she can remember. If you see Lisa on holiday, or at the beach, or even the dining room table, you’ll see her and her sketchbook. When she’s not writing or drawing, she’s in her craft room with either polymer clay or a good book. Life down under sounds wonder-ful!
This is Lisa’s cover holder. It looks good, but I bet the real one will look even better! The story sounds good too . . . Something strange is happening at the llama farm. They’re talking, but anything can happen in a story! Lisa wrote about a quirky bunch of llamas who just want to be heard. With its rhyme and repetition, it’s a perfect beginning reader. If you love Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems, or Aaron Blabey, you will love My Llama Drama too! It will be out late April/early May.
An Interview with Malayna Evans
Meet Malayna Evans! Her interview is On the Scene, on the blog button. Read all about this Egyptologist! Really!
Malayna got her Ph.D. in Egyptology at the University of Chicago, but it took her nine-year-old son to get her to write a book about Egypt. His idea . . . his look-alike would become lost in Ancient Egypt. They started the story that night, but it went through many incarnations before it became JAGGER JONES & THE MUMMY’S ANKH. I have to read it . . . I’m dying to know what an ANKH is. I wonder if it’s like anxt. I have plenty of that!
This is Malayna’s place holder for her book cover. It’s not lions and tigers and bears, but oh my, it’s giant scorpions, evil gods, and an intimidating princess. In this time-traveling tale, Jagger Jones journeys to ancient Egypt to rescue his sister. Jagger is a thirteen-year-old whiz kid from the South Side of Chicago who must defeat an evil general. Jagger is armed with his knowledge of history and a few modern objects. He has one week to solve some supernatural riddles and to rescue the royal family. OME! Oh My Egypt! I’ve got to read this book . . . I love time-travel! If you do too, JAGGER JONES comes out this April, but you can pre-order it now.
I started out to come up with 10, but I wound up with 13. Thirteen favorite things, in the order that I thought of them. Maybe it tells you something about me, or something about where my head was today. Here goes . . .
My 1st favorite thought – CHOCOLATE! This is a chocolate caramel, one of my favorite chocolates! I also love chocolate almonds, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cakes. Let’s face it . . . I love chocolate! When you’re having a bad day, there’s nothing better, and on a good day, it’s a great reward. Chocolate is one of the best things in life. It gives you endorphins and makes everything better. It’s a very good thing!
My 2nd favorite thought – DOGS! To the left is my shrine (really) to my dog Leia. I said goodbye to her in 2014, but I’ve never forgotten her. She was a border terrier, and she was almost 15 when we said goodbye.
She was my best friend ever. She always slept outside my room and waited for me to get up. She even has her own story. It’s cute, but cute isn’t enough to get it published. Sorry, Leia! Someday, I promise.
To the left is the dog I’d get if my husband agreed. He’s never been a dog lover. It’s a poodle! I know, a she-she-poo dog, but they’re so trainable. I miss having a canine friend. Maybe someday!
My 3rd favorite – BOOKS! I have loved them forever. My childhood favorites included Dr. Suess, The Snowy Day, Charlotte’s Web, and The Little House books.
As a teacher I had 9 boxes of books by monthly units, 2 drawers of holiday stories, and 2 boxes of chapter books.
Now I read for fun and to stay current with the kids’ market. I’m fascinated with ideas and where they come from. I just finished Dragon Night. It started with the homonyms night and knight, added a little fear of both, and stirred in the legend of St. George and the Dragon. Clever!
Fourth – SUBBING! I thought when I retired I would never, EVER sub, but it’s fun once a week. I get to hang out with teachers and kids.
I stayed in 2nd grade for 28 years. Now I love bouncing from Kindergarten one week to 4th grade the next. I’m amazed by what these teachers and kids accomplish, and I love being part of the action for a day. Then I go home and focus on writing the stories they want and need.
Here’s #5 – MY FAMILY! I can’t believe they didn’t come up sooner. They’re my base. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a wife and mother. My children are now grown up and scattered across the country.
This photo is from a wedding last April. From left to right – Andy, Ashley, Jaclyn, Alex, me, and Wayne.
Alex and Jaclyn live in Houston, Texas. Ashley is in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Andy’s in Columbus, Ohio. My husband and I travel between Wapakoneta, Ohio and Norris Lake in Tennessee. I love when everyone’s all together. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, there’s nothing better.
#6 – TRAVELING! I love going places! Most of my travels are to see my children or to visit our lake house. Occasionally we fly, but usually we drive. It’s cheaper!
We made 2 big trips when our kids were still home. We did a historic loop of Washington, DC, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. We went out west to see Glacier, Yellow Stone, and the Grand Canyon, but our favorite family trips were to the beaches of South Carolina and to Norris Lake in Tennessee. We loved it so much we have a house there.
I’ve been overseas a couple times. I love visiting other countries and talking to people. I love seeing how we’re the same and different. I’ve been to England, Germany, and the Bahamas in a plane. I’ve sailed on a cruise ship to ports of call in Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Grand Cayman, and Cuba. There are so many places to see. I hope they’re part of my future, whether I travel by car, by plane, or by boat.
#7 – BEACHES! I love to travel, especially to beaches! The first one is in the Carolinas. I’m not a big city or big beach girl. Our favorite was Ocean Isle Beach, at the bottom of North Carolina. In the 90’s and early 2000’s it wasn’t crowded. My kids loved finding sea shells and hunting hermit crabs. It was the perfect vacation!.
The second beach is St. Augustine Beach. We only went there once, but I remember it wasn’t crowded and its beautiful white sand. It’s my kind of beach! I couldn’t believe you could actually drive your car on it. Surprise!
#8 – Germany! I have been there 4 times for about a month each time with Wapakoneta, Ohio’s sister cities program. Our sister city is Lengerich. It’s in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen or North Rhine Westphalia.
This is one of their famous half-timbered houses. I love the style! This one is a business in downtown Lengerich. I’ve parked and walked by it.
This photo and these maps were at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lengerich%2C_Westphalia
The file photo is listed as Fachwerkhaus or half-timber house. Its address is Im Hook 5 in Lengerich. My sister teacher lives on that street in Lengerich.
Lengerich is in the district of Steinfurt. That’s one section of North Rhine Westphalia.
I’ve visited Tecklenburg to the north. It’s a touristy sort of town famous for its castle ruins. I saw the German version of the Jungle book there.
I’ve been to Ibbenburen. One of the kids I hosted traveled there each day for a couple years for high school.
If you look east of Lengerich, you’ll see Lienen. It’s the sister city of our our next-door neighbor, St. Marys. Lienen is horse country.
Ladbergen is sister city to New Knoxville, another close neighbor of Wapakoneta. If I remember correctly, part of Neil Armstrong’s family came from Ladbergen.
Go south of Ladbergen, and you’ll find Munster. There’s a university there that’s housed in an old castle. I love Germany!
This is a map of Germany. When I was there 5 years ago, we did a lap around the country. We flew into Frankfurt. That’s in Hessen. Its river front is gorgeous. We traveled onto Cologne in North Rhine Westphalia. Its medieval cathedral is a World Heritage site.
We went north to Bremen and Hamburg. You know Bremen’s capital from THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS. I had my picture taken next to the statue.
Bremen has a great harbor. Did you know it’s where most Germans said goodbye to come to the US? It’s on the North Sea, and it’s much colder than the Carolina Coast. Hamburg has a harbor too. It’s the 3rd largest in Europe.
I traveled across to Brandenburg and down to Berlin. It’s an amazing city. I’ve been there 4 times, but I’d return in a heartbeat. There is so much history. Travel south to find more in cities like Nuremburg.
Go further south and you’re in the state of Bayern. That’s where Munich is, and their famous soccer team, Bayern Munich. Munich is incredible. It’s the heart of what Americans think of as German culture, and it’s completely different from the North. Someday I want to visit during Octoberfest.
The first picture is from my bedroom at the lake. I bought a special fold-up chair for it, but I usually don’t write in it. I sit in the family room in my lazy-boy, feet up, view of the lake.
The second picture is from downstairs in Wapakoneta looking out at our backyard. I sit in another lazy-boy. I used to write upstairs till we moved the furniture. It’s back but I’m still downstairs with my great view.
Favorite #10 – NORRIS LAKE! This is our view the first year. We saw more trees and forest than lake and water. I took the squirrel picture 2 days after we’d moved in. Our house was empty for 3 years so the critters felt at home. The second picture is my husband. He cut down a lot of trees that first year. Most were tiny. A few were big. The biggest ones we had a professional cut down. The last picture is my husband with his pride and joy, the boat.
I don’t care if it’s fall, winter, spring or summer! I love the lake. This is our 4th year. It hasn’t grown old.
I’m named after my Grandmother, Rinda Hoskins Wilson. I didn’t know she died near Norris. Moving here gave me a chance to learn more about her, and it’s been a wonderful surprise.
#11 – MUSIC! I discovered music in 3rd grade when I started taking piano lessons. Then in 4th grade I joined band. Guess what I played . . . clarinet!
I stayed with marching band through high school graduation. I did solo contests with both instruments. I thought I’d become a musician, maybe a music teacher. Then I discovered that you need to practice an hour a day, per instrument. I was a high school senior, and I loved music, but not enough to practice 2 hours per day. Instead I became a fan of other peoples music.
Here's a clue to my favorite song. It’s by Steve Windwood. I looked hard to find the original version. Enjoy! And don’t forget . . . roll with it! https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1847979958580985
#12 – COLORING! I’d forgotten how much I love to color. When I first retired, I needed something to do in the evenings, and adult coloring books were popular. I love coordinating colors and designs. It helped me connect to my artistic side. It also gave me enough confidence to take a painting class.
And lucky number 13 – COCA COLA! It’s the real thing! I’ve loved Coke since I was little! When I had my 3 kids, I knew my husband loved me . . . he brought me a Coke after I had each baby. It’s the little things! For those of you who’ve been around as long as me, enjoy this blast from the past, another favorite song . . .
March 3-9 Return Borrowed Books Week
Do you have a book that belongs to someone else? This is the week to return it. You have till Saturday. Sorry, the library isn’t fine free, but you’ll feel better because you did the right thing, whether you’re returning it to a friend, the library, or your teacher.
In 2015 one of my former students found a few of my books. She returned them, and I was so happy to get them back. She got a Hershey kiss for each book she returned. It was a sweet deal for both of us.
March 3-9 Read an E-book Week
This is also read an E-book week. You have till Saturday to read one, or a bunch. I love E-books. They’re great for chapter book reading. The best part . . . books that go out of print are reborn. It’s a great thing! I hope you check out a few. And . . . Happy Reading!
An Interview with Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw
Meet Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw! Her interview is On the Scene, on the blog button. Read to discover how she combines her two favorite things . . . teaching and writing.
Suzanne is a well-rounded person. She’s a wife and mother of two grown boys. Her dog Ziggy is her writing buddy. She loves to kayak, hike, do yoga, and look at paint swatches. She is a lady of many talents!
This is Suzanne’s place holder for her book cover. She’s excited – the real one will be revealed March 12th, that’s only a week away!
I love the title of her book, and I think kids will too! It’s the true story of nine-year-old Josh who discovers the worst thing ever – ice cream trucks are illegal in his hometown. Josh could just scream! But he doesn’t. Instead he campaigns for an ice cream ban repeal. I’m pretty sure this has a happy ending because Suzanne said Josh learns leadership, perseverance, and how to take action when he fights Town Hall. This is a winner of a story!
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!