An Interview with Sarah Glenn Fortson
Meet Sarah Glenn Fortson! I think she had the best writing start ever! Her teacher, Sister Mary Angeline, pulled her aside, shook her finger in her face and said, “Sarah Glenn Fortson, if you don’t do something with your writing it will be a sin.” Wow! That is a HUGE compliment from an English teacher. Sarah took her advice and went into journalism for her undergraduate major.
Sarah went on to get 2 degrees in education, and she also went to work. She’s been a teacher, a consultant, a coordinator, an administrator, but she never lost sight of her writing or Sister Mary Angeline’s advice.
Sarah also has a life beyond education and writing. She lives in two cities, Chicago and Atlanta, so she’s always traveling, either between them or to someplace special. Her favorite thing about traveling is finding unusual stories along the way, but I don’t think Sarah ever leaves stories completely behind. Even when she’s escaping into hiking and painting, she’s still listening to stories on Audible. She’s my kind of person!
This is Sarah’s temporary cover. The real one is in the works. Sarah’s not worried because her book releases this October.
Sarah’s story is SO cute! With her ten-gallon hat and two-quart diaper, Cowgirl A.K. has no time for the potty. REALLY! She’s got horses to harness, fences to varnish, and spurs that tarnish. I can’t WAIT to see how A.K is convinced to go potty, but I’ll bet it’s a rootin’, tootin’ story!
Sarah Glenn Fortson's Interview Link:
Earth Day 2019 was April 22, but every day should be Earth Day. Do you know which country puts out the most carbon?
USA China India Japan Russia
The answer: China
Tomorrow: Details about each country and tips to be a good Earth citizen every day.
Can you find the countries below? Start on the western side of the Earth. Find a light green country. That’s the United States.
Now go east across the ocean to a huge yellow country at the top of the world. That’s Russia. Go south to an orange country. That’s China.
Next go east of China and Russia into the ocean. Find a chain of islands that’s half pink, half purple. That’s Japan.
Finally go back to China. Travel south to a large green peninsula. That’s India. These are the world’s 5 top polluters. I don’t think any of them want to be on this list. Here are 2 charts that show 2 different ways to wrap your head around the numbers.
2015 Total Emissions Country Rank Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion (million metric tons)
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
So what does all this mean? Is the USA alright? Do we need to do better? How? What do you think?
There’s always room for improvement, for me as a person. For the US as a country. We span across a continent with miles of highway to connect us. We don’t have mass transit, except in our large cities or on the east coast.
If you look at this link: Union of Concerned Scientists, there are 2 other countries in the 15 metric ton per capita range. Canada is at 15.32, and Australia’s at 15. 83. They’re like us, continent-wide with miles of highway to cross. The biggest surprise on this page, Saudia Arabia’s at 16.85 and tops the per capita list.
One of the nice things about aging is watching things get better. When I grew up in the 60’s, people were becoming aware of pollution. As a country we stopped using DDT. We put animals on the endangered list and worked to protect them. Back then there was no recycling, and now I see it around my little town. Yay! We’ve gotten better at taking care of our planet since the 60’s. But, we still have room to grow.
Now, how can YOU help the Earth? My friends at Traveltrivia.com had a couple suggestions. 1) Ride your bike whenever it’s possible. I have to confess I’m not a bike rider, but I try to watch my car trips so that I accomplish as much as possible in 1 trip. I used to carpool to work. We drove 1 car, not 2. These are simple things, but if everyone does the simple things, we can have a big effect.
2) Turn off the water. Don’t let it drip! Water is a natural resource. Don’t waste it. I also try to watch what I throw out into my yard. Whatever goes into the ground can go into our water system, and it can pollute your water.
3) Turn off the lights when you leave the room. The same is true for anything that uses electricity. Turning it off saves the natural resources that make your electricity. Saving water and electricity also saves money, and that’s a great thing! Money saved is money you can spend on something else that YOU want or need.
4) Reuse something instead of throwing it away. If it’s broken, can you fix it? Turn it into something else? I saved a card from my father’s funeral. I cut it into pieces, glued it onto a frame, and now it’s a treasured possession. Another great thing!
5) If you can’t use it, recycle it! I don’t throw out my newspapers – I recycle them. Did you know paper is one of the biggest things going into the garbage dumps? I can’t recycle old clothes, but I give them to places like Goodwill. You can get things there free or at a great price. Sometimes you even find treasures! Happy Hunting!
If you have other suggestions, please comment or email me. I’d love to share them so we can all make Earth Day every day.!
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
Usually I don’t get comments, but I thought I’d share this one with you, along with my answer.
Daniel: It is interesting to see the “emissions from fuel combustion per capita”. Regarding greenhouse emissions and global warming: This is the possibility that each of every American has an impact on carbon pollution. Instead of working against this outrageous number, people get more, bigger pick-ups, companies discontinue fuel saving vehicles like Ford Focus...Strange new world, and I’m disappointed about Americans who seem to not care.
Rinda: Daniel, I agree that every American has an impact on carbon pollution. I understand your concern about the big pick-ups versus the economy cars. I drive a Honda Crosstour. I’m not sure what my mileage is, but it’s better than our Honda Pilot (my husband worked at Honda, and they’re great cars).
I think Americans do care about the environment, but it’s one choice among a million you might make in a day. I was a soccer mom. Having a car big enough to haul my 3 kids around, plus any of their friends, was huge back in the day.
Our next car will probably be a truck, sorry! It’s not because we don’t care about the environment, but because we have a boat to move around. We also have a trailer that helps us move anything from tree limbs to furniture. In America, we don’t have the luxury of taking a train so we want a car that’s comfortable. I spent an hour in my car, round trip 5 days a week for 33 years. Now I substitute teach. I sub in Wapak, not my old district because it saves time, energy, and money, all things valued by Americans.
I hope my response will redeem truck-driving Americans in your eyes. At least in my family, we have a good reason for our choices. And Daniel, if you need a car, take a look at the Hondas! They’re fuel efficient, and last forever. Our Pilot has almost 300,000 miles. It’s a gem!
An Interview with Kat Harrison
Meet Kat Harrison! She’s from Michigan, that state up north if you’re an OSU Buckeye like me. She’s a member of SCBWI, and loves hanging out with her two favorite guys. One’s human, and one’s a canine, and that sounds about right to me!
Kat’s favorite things are headbands, warm mugs, and Shel Silverstein’s poetry. Kat started her writing career as a magazine editor. Her work has appeared in lifestyle publications like Real Simple and New York Family, and on digital outlets like Yahoo and MSN. She frequently contributes to The Mighty, an online health community. They named her one of 2018’s top chronic illness advocates.
All of this, plus 14 surgeries, daily migraines, and a disability named oscillopsia have given Kat the most inspiring path to publication. She’s the perfect person to write about hospitals for children, and that’s the subject of her debut book.
This is Kat’s cover! Sunday is scared about her first surgery. The doctor will operate to repair a hole in her eardrum. Her stomach’s twisted like a triple-knotted shoelace. She tries to relax with the help of her parents, a stuffed octopus, and the hospital staff, but Sunday learns pre-surgery that she had the secret power to face it all along. I’m dying to read and find out what it is!
If you know someone aged 4 – 8 who’s facing their first surgery, this is the book for them and their family!
Kat’s Interview Link: http://onthescenein19.weebly.com/blog/an-interview-with-kat-harrison
It’s almost Easter, time for chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. The Jelly Belly Company is known for their best-selling flavors. How many do you think they make?
20 30 40 50
The answer . . . 50 flavors. Jelly Belly’s traditionals include orange, lemon, lime, and cherry. The exotics include cinnamon, pomegranate, cappuccino, buttered popcorn, and chili-mango. They also do specialty jellybeans with licenced ingredients like Tabasco sauce, hot-cha-cha!
The unusual ones like egg nog or pancakes and maple syrup are more my speed. Jelly Belly even has some nonalcoholic versions of mai tais, strawberry daiquiris, margueritas, and draft beer. If you want flavors like lychee or green tea, you’ll have to go outside the US.
Jelly Belly also makes Berti Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, the ones from Harry Potter, and yes you can try vomit, earwax, skunk spray, and even rotten egg. Really!
The Jelly Belly Company’s base and manufacturing plant is in Fairfield, California. It’s 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, the capital of California. In 2014 Family Fun Magazine picked their self-guided tour as one of the best around.
Jelly Belly has another plant in North Chicago, Illinois. Follow its eastern border north. North Chicago is on Lake Michigan, about 10 miles south of Wisconsin.
Drive 3 miles north into Wisconsin, and you’ll be in Pleasant Prairie and at the Jelly Belly distribution center. They ship beans all over the country, and they offer a train tour of their warehouse.
Would you believe Jelly Belly has a factory in Rayong, Thailand? If you fly southeast of Chon Buri, you’ll be in Rayong, and that’s where they make lychee, green tea, and the other international flavors.
More great news from our group! The books are coming! The books are coming!
Check them out online or at your favorite bookstore.
by June McCrary Jacobs
by Jarm Del Boccio
by Connie Bergstein Dow
by Pippa Chorley
by Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw
An Interview with Laurie Smollett Kuscera
Meet Laurie Smollett Kutscera! She grew up in the Greenwich Village part of New York City. She studied fine art, calligraphy, and children’s illustration at Queen’s College. One of her teachers was Caldecott medalist Marvin Bileck. What a great opportunity! Laurie used it to become an award-winning graphic designer, a published children’s illustrator, and a toy designer. What a career!
Laurie got interested in writing 14 years ago when she was cruising the eastern seaboard from Nantucket to the Virgin Islands. I met Laurie last year through 12 x 12 and the Children’s Book Academy. Laurie is still a New Yorker. She lives on the north shore of Long Island with her husband Nick and rescue dog Cody. Her life sounds practically perfect!
This is Laurie’s cover! Meet Alexander Fin, master of illusion and son of a famous magician. When his father dies, Alex must move, but he won’t unpack or have anything to do with his new home. Everything changes when he discovers an unusual deck of cards hidden in his father’s old desk. They’re animated, and that’s when Alex’s real adventure begins.
Read Laurie’s On the Scene interview, and you’ll learn where she got this story idea. Hint – it involves magic!
PS - Laurie's interview must be magic . . . it keeps disappearing whenever I try to share it on Facebook so I'll see if it works here. Fingers crossed!
Back in the day my class’ name was Beach’s Best. I wanted my class to think of themselves as a team, and as a team I wanted everyone in the class, including me to be their best. To do their best. I still do.
One of the tips I heard years ago to catch your writing mistakes was to read your work out loud. You will hear what sounds awkward, or even wrong. It really works!
But now I discovered something better than sitting in my chair and reading my stories to myself. It’s not having someone else read it. I’m retired. Usually there’s me, myself, and I in the house, and my husband. I don’t think he’s ever read anything I’ve written, other than a text message.
Are you wondering what I found? Good! Adding more words and making you wait adds to the tension. You want to have tension in a story, but not too much!
Can you guess what it is? It involves the computer. If my husband is in the room it involves headphones. Can you guess now?
It’s using the narrator setting on my computer. I can hear my words so I can hear what’s wrong. Sure, it’s in a computer voice, but that’s better than my own, even though I’m a great oral reader.
When I use the computer, I don’t have to focus on decoding the words and putting the sound and meaning together. With the computer I listen to the sound and meaning. I cut my work in half, and that’s a great thing.
Whenever I write one of my web posts, I always use the narrator function on my computer. It usually takes like 5-9 times through the post before I publish it. It makes good writing so much easier.
When I write stories, like NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM, I do the content first (the story). Then I go back and run it through the narrator function until I’m happy with it. If I just got a critique from one of my writing friends, I make the changes, and then I run it back through the narrator again.
If you’re writing in Microsoft Word and want to use the narrator function, hit control/windows/delete at the same time, and it will open the function. Then click on caps/m to start it. To leave, click on caps/escape. If you don’t use word, you can google how to use a narrator on your program.
Another writing tip is to find great sources with interesting facts that you can share with your audience. If you have a book or science report to do, I have a pair of animal books in My Reads that you should check out.
An Interview with Sarah Hoppe
Meet Sarah Hoppe! She’s from Minnesota, born and bred. Her favorite things are writing weird stories, taking photographs, hiking through the woods, crafting with lots of hot glue, and snuggling on the couch with her family. It sounds like a wonderful life!
Sarah lives in Rochester, Minnesota with her husband, two boys, and two dogs. I’m glad Sarah’s a photographer and a writer! Between her family and her walks, she has lots of material to record and to inspire her.
This is Sarah’s first cover. I love the dog AND the beach! Did you know that dog books are best sellers with Scholastic book clubs? Everybody loves dogs!
In WHO WILL? WILL YOU? Lottie is out beach-combing and finds something unbelievable, a lost puppy. She spends the day looking for a home for him.
Lottie discovers that there are different kinds of pups, and they each have different needs for their just-right homes. Read this book, and you’ll discover some fun animal facts. They make this book pup-tastic!
It came in the mail so it’s official . . . I’m old enough for a Golden Buckeye Card. They’re for Ohio senior citizens. I don’t think of myself as a senior, but now I am. I have the Golden Buckeye Cards to prove it.
Turning 30, 40, or 50 never bothered me. I’m named after my grandmother. She died when my mom was two. She never got to turn 50 or 60. I found a cool link to help me celebrate my age by the numbers . . .
On May 7, 2019 I’ll be –
Or 525,216 hours,
Or 21,884 days,
Or 3,126 weeks,
Or 718 months,
Or 60 years.
Or 6 decades.
Age is a state of mind! On May 7th I’ll be anything from 6 to 31 million. Let’s just say I’m timeless! If you’d like to see how timeless you are, click on this link, and type in your birthday. Happy aging! https://happyhappybirthday.net/en/1959/05/07
An Interview with ME!!!
You’ve already met me so instead I’ll introduce the biography I wrote for NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
Rinda never planned to write. She was a second-grade teacher who read and told stories, until the night a bat paid her a visit. It inspired her to write. She learned how to edit, thanks to SCBWI, writing classes, and critique partners. Rinda substitute teaches to stay connected to today’s kids. She uses her knowledge and imagination to write stories for them. Her website features a weekly blog and book review for kids. She expanded her career to open a company, Beach Girl Press. Visit Rinda at www.rindabeach.com
Here’s the summary from the back cover.
Most people know that Neil Alden Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon, but very few know how it all started . . . with a dream to build his own wind tunnel.
Read how Neil’s love of planes took him from the Cleveland air races at age two to the Wright Brothers’ wind tunnel at age sixteen. Discover how Neil made his wind tunnel dream come true.
Here are the quotes from the back cover:
A wonderful book for any young person interested in how to think about solving engineering problems using an example of one of America’s most famous astronauts. Additionally, Ms. Rinda Beach gives real examples for those willing to go a step further in conducting their own experiments, just like young Neil Armstrong! That is what sets this book apart, it is not just a young person’s book, but a book for young people.
-Robert G. Bryant -Ph.D Eagle Scout • NASA Senior Research Engineer The Space Foundation’s
Space Technology Hall of Fame 2016 Inductee
What a fun, interesting and informative look at how a young Neil Armstrong’s curiosity led him to outer space. An added bonus is the instructions for making your own wind tunnel!
-Patricia A. Johnson, retired educator
Look what came in the mail today!!!
My first book! I’ve been writing since 2007 so this is a dream come true! I got the paperback copy today, and the hardback is coming tomorrow. It’s even better because I was expecting both of them next week.
Now it’s back to work. On the list, I must approve the paperback and hardback copies, order the eBook, and get my ISBN numbers on Amazon, Good Reads, and Barnes and Noble. Here’s to tomorrow!
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!