From my life! I didn’t think it was exceptional, but I’ve found some great stories to tell.
Story #1 – This was the first one I wrote. It came from the unbelievable moment when I held ¾ of a bat on a mop. Really! But I didn’t have enough confidence to tell that story. So my German friends introduced me to Herman the German and the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. When I thought it was ready, I took it to Highlights. It was good, but had lots of first writer mistakes. It’s still in my computer, waiting for me to grow into it.
Photo Source for the Teutoburg Forest By Arminia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1343268
Story #2 – I couldn’t let go of the bat so I wrote the mostly true story. The characters – 2 bats, a German grandmother, and her American granddaughter. Frog and Toad served as my mentor text. I took it to an SCBWI conference for a critique. My reader said it was flat and that bats don’t have legs – the shelf life for a bat story is September and October, longer if I had reading followers. It’s safe in my computer waiting for me to build that career.
Story #3 – If bats don’t have legs, schools do! They’re forever. Every summer I closed down my classroom, and the school felt dead. In August I’d re open it and prepare for a new batch of kids. I wanted to tell that story using a caterpillar and the butterfly it became, but I couldn’t find my way into that story.
I don’t remember how, but somehow ants found their way in, and I found my words, over 30 chapters worth. I believe this will be a book someday, but I haven’t found the right words, the right story arc yet.
I spent most of the summer working on those ants. I have 4 chapters to go. I built up the beginning, got rid of the saggy middle. Now I have to write to the climax and finish with a satisfying ending. Summer school was the best thing ever for me and my ants!
Story #4 – My dog Leia gave me this idea. That’s her in the first picture. The second is a look-alike. Leia used to sit outside my bathroom door every morning waiting for me. I’d ask if she was hungry. If she wasn’t, she’d just stare. If my daughter forgot, Leia went crazy – bouncing, barking, and telling on my daughter. When you write a story, it changes. It grows and develops. Leia’s did. I hope someday I can find a way to tell her story.
Story #5 – I went into lockdown with my last class in 2014/2015. I remember it like it happened yesterday. I didn’t think of it as a story until a year later. Since then it’s gone through lots of revisions, It started as the lockdown I experienced, but that’s too real for my audience. I changed the setting into a drill, and now I have a better chance of seeing this story published. It’s close. I’m working to find and agent and a publisher for it. Someday!
Story #6 – I wrote this story before I published my newest book. I don’t think it has a niche market like Lake Fun did, so it’s still sitting in my computer. Both stories started at Norris Lake. That’s where my husband and I have a house. It’s heaven, unless the ducks visited our dock. I love them on the water, but not so much on the dock. They think it’s their poop deck, literally, and they don’t clean up their own mess. My husband and I have to. The story changed, as it always does. Now a young boy is telling about a lake vacation with his grandparents. It’s perfect, until the ducks arrive.
Story #7 – This was my first published book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. It started with a part of Neil’s real wind tunnel. Do you see it? It’s to the left of the red print. I discovered it when I was training to be a docent at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum back in the fall of 2017. I was fascinated, thinking how Neil built it back in 1946. He was 16, and he modeled it after the Wright Brothers. In May of 2018 I decided to write and self-publish this story.
Story #8 – This was my first picture book from 2020. The inspiration – that middle picture. It’s our lake house. I wanted to do a book about my lake and all the fun my family had. I thought I had a niche market at the lake and its marinas. I started writing during the summer of 2019. By August it was time to figure out the illustrations. Finding a way to do that last illustration, wakesurfing, was key. It’s an image I wanted kids to see, to read about. My critique partner said he could digitally enhance a photo from Pixabay so it would look like a real illustration. When I looked at that image, I knew I could keep writing!
Stories # 9 & 10 – Both are scheduled for March of 2021, for now. Take a look at these two images. They’re clues to the next 2 books. I’ll tell you more, SOON!
Story #11 – It will debut in October of 2021, for now. I thought about next month, but I changed my mind in July. I’m glad I did. Extra time is always a good thing!
The Back Story – On September 1st, I wrote a post about how to pick the perfect dog. A pug would be my best match, if I could only have a dog. Here’s that post:
That post all started with Jess Miller from Jen Reviews. She liked a post I did about Riley, the therapy dog. It’s funny how one idea can lead to another. Here’s that link:
Jess asked if I would share her article on Riley’s post. It’s about how to use puppy personality tests to find the perfect pet. I looked at it, and tests fascinate me. I love the information you can discover, and I wanted to write more. Here’s Jess’ link:
I looked through the tests, trying to find my way in, but the words wouldn’t come. I went round and round – I even thought about switching topics.
Then I realized what was missing, the kind of dog. I needed to pick that first, then the puppy. When our family found Leia, we found our breed first, a border terrier. Then we looked for puppies.
I googled, found 4 tests, and my words.
And the test said . . . a pug. Now I can pick a puppy, or pretend to. I’m not allowed to have a real dog, but it’s fun to pretend, to imagine what if? It’s like window shopping . . . the possibilities are endless. And free!
How to Pick a Pup – Lauren Montgomery wrote the article for Your Dog Advisor.com. She started with the Volhard Aptitude Tests. There are ten, one for each puppy trait, but I thought I’d start with her 3 simple tests. Sometimes you need an easy button when you’re doing something important like finding your perfect pup.
Test #1 – Friendliness – Everyone wants a friendly dog! This one’s pretty simple. Take your puppy into a room where they won’t get into too much trouble. Leave for a moment, and have someone new come in.
A friendly puppy will run right over, lick them, or let them scratch their ears. If your puppy pulls away, hides, or whimpers, then you’ll need to look for ways to help your dog become more friendly. No matter the results, all puppies need to learn how to become part of their new families.
Test #2 – Independence – Some people like a clingy dog. I don’t, but I didn’t realize that clingy dogs might have separation anxiety. Here are a couple tests to check where your dog is on the independence scale.
The first is to hold your puppy under the front legs like this. Their hind legs will dangle free. If your puppy tries to escape, they’re probably pretty independent. This pup looks like my dog when my kids picked her up and held her. She was calm, but she didn’t look happy.
Another way to test for independence is to ease your puppy onto its back, then cradle it. This shot looks a lot like that, but I think it’s probably a belly rub. If your dog fights to break free or won’t look at you, it’s probably pretty independent.
My dad wanted me to do this test for a different reason, to check for dominance. He wanted to make sure we had a dog who would submit, who would obey us.
Test #3 – Fear – Nobody wants a scaredy-cat for a dog, but knowing its fear factors will help you find your puppy. Drop something like a spoon, or anything that will make a loud noise.
All puppies will have some kind of reaction, but cowering, crying, running, and hiding are big signals for fear and sensitivity. If you have a sensitive pup, the cure is a little extra TLC. You can also do a little training to help them become part of your family.
The Volhard Aptitude Traits and Tests – There are 10 tests and 10 traits. They include: social attraction, following, restraint, social dominance, elevation, retrieving, touch, sound, sight sensitivity, and stability. They’re done by a professional tester. Never, ever by the puppy’s owner or breeder. When the tester finishes, you’ll get a score on each trait.
I’ve never heard of these tests, but my dog was pure pet. I imagine people in the dog business use them to find and train the dogs you see in shows or agility competitions. They may even help breeders find the right dogs to produce your perfect puppy.
Trait #1 – Social Attraction – This fancy word sounds like good old friendliness. Does your puppy love to meet people or spend time alone? You can teach them social skills.
This test is a lot like the one for friendliness. The biggest difference is the owner brings in the puppy, stays till it’s comfortable, and then leaves. The tester claps, whistles, or calls him. A social puppy pays attention and doesn’t notice their friend leave.
Trait #2 – Following – Like follow-the-leader! Does your puppy follow you around, or does it stray away? Can you guess who’s easier to train? The follower, of course!
The tester tries to get the puppy to follow him around by using sounds or commands. If you have a busy family, you want a puppy-follower.
Trait #3 – Restraint – Will your puppy submit and follow directions? Let you hold them with their feet dangling midair? Guess who’s easier to train? The one with restraint!
This time the tester puts the puppy on its back to see if it can relax. Restraint isn’t a problem with a Chihuahua, but it could be with a Great Dane. That’s why my dad wanted me to try it on Leia. Thanks, dad!
Trait #4 – Social Dominance – I was right! It sounds a lot like restraint, and it will predict how well a puppy follows commands, but the test looks a lot like Social Attraction.
This picture is close to the real one. The puppy and examiner sit at eye level. In a real test you’d kneel, then lean over to pet its back. If the puppy licks you or shows affection – SUCCESS!
Trait #5 – Elevation – This is the puppy’s ability to obey when they’re stressed out. There’s no escape, like a trip to the vet or the groomer. You want a puppy like this, who’s cool, calm, and collected even when suspended from midair.
This is the test, the same one used for independence. The examiner holds the dog for 30 seconds, less if the pup is calm like this one. If your dog needs monthly grooming, give them an elevation or independence test. You’ll be glad you did!
Trait #6 – Retrieving – That’s what dogs do when they play fetch! They bring something back. If a dog’s good at retrieving, they’re probably very trainable. If you have a hunting, service, or working dog, find one with a great retrieval score.
The tester starts with something small. He wiggles it till he has the puppy’s attention. Then he gives it a toss. The puppy’s job – to bring the object back and get a score.
Trait #7 – Stability tests the puppy’s response to something new. This one looks like he can’t get out of that basket soon enough! If you’re in the military, or you move a lot, you want a puppy who has a high stability score.
The examiner will pull out something new, like an open umbrella, something the puppy has never seen before. His score will show how scared or interested he was in the object.
Trait #8 – Touch sensitivity – This trait tests how your puppy handles something touching/pressing on the pads of their feet. I didn’t know that puppies with low touch sensitivity will eventually have foot problems and they’ll stay away from fields and meadows. If you want a canine running partner, have your puppy take this test.
The tester will push on the puppy’s paw until it wiggles free or shows discomfort. That stops the test, and determines the score.
Trait #9 – Sound sensitivity – This is a puppy’s reaction to loud sounds like fireworks or thunder. Our Leia was OK with thunder, but not fireworks. She’d pace and shake until they stopped. Police and military dogs would need the right score on this test.
The tester would start by doing something loud, like dropping a book, or banging pans together. The score’s determined by the puppy’s immediate reaction to the noise.
Trait #9 – S ight Sensitivity – It’s all about how the puppy responds to movement. This one’s interested in the balloon, but will it pounce if the balloon moves? This test will clue you in if your puppy will chase cars, or cats. If you’re a hunter, you want a dog who can hold still.
The tester will jerk something across the room and watch to see how the puppy reacts. Will the pup sit and watch, or give chase?
If you’re interested in learning more about these tests, google Volhard Aptitude. You’ll find videos that can help you design your own quiz. You should also be able to find a Volhard site near you.
Part 1 – What is sleep apnea? I have it, and that means I stop breathing at night, a lot, enough that back when I was teaching I was always tired. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning, and the car put me to sleep, even when I was driving. Sometimes if you have sleep apnea, you snore. I do – LOUD! I knew there was something wrong so I finally went in in 2014 and did a sleep study.
The results put me in a c-pap machine. A year later I went in with my results. My machine records things like how much sleep I get or how many times I wake up in an hour. My doctor didn’t like my data so he had me do another study. It put me on a bi-pap machine.
The 2 machines look exactly alike, so what’s the difference? They both have pressurized air going in my nose, but c-pap is a continuous stream that never changes pressure, ever.
A bi-pap has two streams of air. When I breathe in, the air is set to a high pressure. When I breathe out, the air is set to a lower pressure. My bi-pap machine controls both levels.
Look at the mask to the left. It’s the one I use with my machine. The biggest difference – my mask doesn’t cover my mouth, but I don’t breathe in and out with it. If I open my mouth with either machine, the air going in feels funny, in a yucky way. When I have on my mask, I don’t mouth-breathe. My machine keeps me on the staight and nasal.
Photo source sleep machine:
By PruebasBMA - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
C-pap & Bi-pap Source:
Part 2 – Test #1 - I checked in with my doctor. Most of the summer I couldn’t seem to get enough sleep, 9 hours wasn’t enough. I needed 10 or 11. If I didn’t get it, I felt tired, and I found myself taking naps.
The doctor looked at my SD card to get my sleep numbers. She decided it was time for another study. They started me back with the basic beginning one.
I had a sleep-over August 11th at Lima Memorial’s Sleep Center. With covid they checked my temperature and asked those key questions before they admitted me. They showed me to my bedroom, and this was the equipment waiting for me – a lot of wires! I went in at 8, and it took almost an hour to connect them all.
The wires had to be loose/long enough that I wouldn’t kick them off in my sleep. If that happened, my buddies would have come in and fixed them. Thank goodness, nothing came loose.
FYI – that paste is petroleum-based. Shampoo won’t wash it away. Dawn dish soap will, just like it does for birds caught in oil slicks.
It looks like there are 5 more coming off the front of my face. If you’ve been keeping track – 4 from the legs, 10 from my back, and 5 from the front, that’s 19 wires. I think there are still enough holes!
This is what I looked like from the front. There may be another wire or two, but I don’t see it. I also had a gizmo attached to my left hand, middle finger. It wasn’t to take temperatures, but I’m not sure what it tracked.
Do you see the two black belts on the bed? I didn’t get them for judo. I wore one under my arms, and another at my waist. Sorry, I didn’t ask why.
Do you see the blue box under my left arm in that first picture? That’s the bread box again. When the technician held it out, I was wearing so many wires it looked like the strings on a harp.
Here’s a close-up of my face. I’ve never looked lovelier! Ha! Do you see the tube under my nose? It took the place of my mask. I had one tube in each nostril. They used it to keep track of when I took a breath, and when I didn’t.
I slept with my wires and the machine. I was allowed to keep the TV on. I laid down at 10 PM, and my technician woke me up at 6 AM. My sleep buddies tracked me for 8 hours’ worth of data. They said they’d gotten the information they needed.
After I woke up, my sleep technician came in, pulled off the wires, and sent me home. It took 2 weeks to get the results. I hoped they would change the settings on my bi-pap machine, and I’d be back to sleeping 9 hours again. No such luck!
Instead I waited a week for my next sleep-over, then another 2 weeks for the results.
Part 3 – Test # 2 – Here’s what I found waiting for my second sleepover on September 2nd, but in a different room. It’s pretty much the same supplies. The tray is new, but the things on it aren’t.
Here’s me again, in all my glory. I’m all wired up, taped up, and plugged in, ready to go. With this setup I could move around the room before bedtime, 10 PM once again.
No TV this time. They needed to be able to hear clearly for this study. No extra noise allowed.
When I got into bed, my sleep technician took off the wrap, below the bread board. It sat on the nightstand, just like last time, with the wires connecting me to the machines and the people monitoring me. I could only get up if I called my technician.
I had a horrible time going to sleep with no TV. I must have rolled back and forth at least a dozen times, but nothing came loose. Thank goodness! But if it had, my buddy would have wired me back up again.
She woke me up at 6 AM, unplugged everything, and sent me home to wash with Dawn one more time. It’s perfect on that paste.
I waited 2 weeks to get my call on September 17th. No more studies! YAY!
My doctor looked at the results and decided to take me back to another c-pap machine. Now I’m waiting for my order to come in, hopefully the week of September 28th.
In November I’ll go back to see my doctor. She’ll look at my SD card to see how my new machine’s working. Don’t worry! I’ll update you then.
Have you ever gone through a time of despair? You feel like you’ll never be happy again. I haven’t had many, but they feel like the opposite of inspiration – desperation. You remember them clearly – they’re a scar you’ll never forget.
This post is about my 3 most desperate times, and how I coped. I hope they help you,. I’ve dealt with colds and the flu, but never with sickness and death. They found me 9 years ago.
The first story is about my dad. He was a teacher, a principal, and a man of words. I’m a daddy’s girl, and I lost him to Alzheimer's in February of 2011. He went looking for a boat in the middle of winter. He came home that night for the last time. He moved into a nursing home by Valentines Day.
With Alzheimer's the neurons in your brain slowly gum up until they won’t connect anymore. At the beginning you lose a thought, can’t find the word you need. Later you forget where you’re at, where you’re going, like my dad did.
In February the dad I’d always known was gone. He lost touch with the real world and found himself living in a fantasy. He showed me his classroom. It was really his bathroom. Another night I found him ready to pilot a plane. He’d never flown one before.
My dad was gone, locked in his own brain, so where’s my silver lining? I found it by meeting him where he was. I was dad’s Peter Pan. If he wanted me to see his classroom, I looked inside and talked school.
When dad said he was flying, I said don’t crash. Ahlzheimer’s was never his fault. He believed what he said. I didn’t fight for the truth. I wanted both of us to enjoy the time we had left.
The last time he said Rinda, he asked about my funeral. I didn’t cry. I looked for the silver lining, my dad still remembered me. I said she had a great funeral. Story telling has its benefits!
The ultimate silver lining for me – a story. I wrote about our golf course adventures. It was the last place I found my dad, the one I remember. He used to hunt golf balls in the creek, and he tried to drag me in after them. Alzheimer’s took away so much, but I’m grateful for our last memories.
That story is still in my computer. I hope I can find a way to edit it for kids. They’re natural Peter Pans, if you show them a few rules about Alzheimer’s.
The second story is about our family dog. This is Leia Millenia Beach (we were a Star Wars family). She came to us as a pup in August 1999. Her kids were in 5th, 3rd, and K. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend for them.
Leia loved to walk and would go crazy if we said walk, w-a-l-k, or the w word. She was that smart! Her favorite kind was to pull her kids down the street, panting and choking the whole way, but with the biggest doggy smile ever. Life couldn’t get any better.
She loved to pull me down the street, in shoes. That little 10 pound dog had to lead! I’ve never had a better friend. Loyal, true, and always happy to see me.
In 2013 she was a senior dog. This was her favorite spot because she could keep track of her people.
Age had taken its toll. I didn’t notice until November when we did a photo shoot. (Leia has her own story.) I took her to the town next door and realized she had doggy dementia.
She’d walk a few steps and rest. No more pulling me down the street. At the photo shop, she paced. She used to sniff her way around the room. Not any more. She paced like my dad, and I realized I was losing her too.
I cried all the way home, only 10 minutes, thank goodness. I felt like I was losing my dad again, plus my dog. I’m so glad we did those pictures. I still have them, ready to publish when her story is told.
She’d look at me like this, like she could see down to the bottom of my soul, and she loved me anyway.
By March my cleaning lady called and said I think it’s time. I called our vet, left a message, and of course my 2nd graders came in the door when she called back. One of them asked about Leia. He said it happened to his dog too. We agreed that someday I should write this part of Leia’s story, saying goodbye.
I took her to the vet the next day. She gave Leia the shot, and as she passed I told story after story, about how much we loved her.
When I returned to school my kids asked. Word spread. My sister teacher in 3rd grade found out on bus duty. My kids passed the word to her and to my old 3rd and 4th graders. We were family.
My Texas son, daughter-in-law, and their 2 dogs sent me flowers. Here’s part of my Facebook thank you to the dogs: Your flowers made me cry, but they also made me think of the stories Leia would tell you like how to squirt between 2 children so they don't catch you, or how to find M&M's and drag them to your crate.
This post is about silver linings, and that’s what I found. I asked my school nurse how to get through the grief. I’d never gone through it before. She said put a rubber band on your wrist. When you feel tears, snap it!
I found something better, memories. When tears came, and they did for a week or two, I would close my eyes and remember Leia pulling my kids down the street. It made me smile again, and I hugged it to my heart.
My other silver lining is having her story in my computer, waiting for the right time to become a book. Our picture will be on the author page together, the one from our photo shoot.
The third and final story is about my dad and his last summer. It was the end of May 2015, my last week as a teacher. That’s when we got the call that dad needed hospice care. I knew that meant he was dying.
Hospice doesn’t help you live. You only qualify if you have a terminal disease. There is no hope. Nothing left to try. Hospice helps a patient face death, as comfortably as possible.
Sometimes you only have a few days. Sometimes a week. In May we didn’t know how much time was left. It turned out to be 4 more months.
From 2011 on, Dad lived in a nursing home. Hospice worked with his nurses to minimize his pain, to help him end life as comfortably as possible.
Hospice also helped my family to understand what was happening. When changes in medications needed to be made, dad’s hospice team would call and guide us through them.
The saddest thing about 2015 and watching dad go downhill was that he would never hear my stories. A friend said tape them. I did, and Dad could hear my voice anytime his nurses pushed play.
After school let out, once a week I went in to read with dad. I started with my stories first – 2 bat stories, golfing with dad, the ants, Leia’s story, all of them. Then I turned to my kindle.
I started with MARLEY AND ME and Nora Ephron’s I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK. Both stories are about aging and death. They gave me a chance to talk about the important things – dogs and kids, aging and death. I’m grateful for that time with my dad, to read, to talk to him about the things that mattered. I left nothing unsaid.
The last time I saw my dad was the week before my son’s wedding. I told him I had to leave, when I’d be back, and that it would be OK for him to go. My son’s wedding was Saturday, September 19. Dad died Tuesday the 22nd. I didn’t make it home, but I was at peace. I had said everything I needed to say. I’m glad for my summer of silver linings.
The Inspiration for this post came from STRANDS OF MY WINDING CLOTH (The Elizabeth of England Chronicles, Book 4) by Gemma Lawrence. I read the passage below and knew I wanted to share it in a post. It’s how I feel about life, death, and how to live on.
I messaged Gemma for permission to quote this passage – Elizabeth had just asked Kat Ashley how to fight death, and this is how she answered . . .
“Live, Elizabeth. That is all that can be done against Death. Live each day and know the beauty of life. Laugh with friends, and know that even when Death separates us, we are never lost to one another. Love those who deserve your love, and be grateful to be loved in return.”
Kat wrapped her arms tight about me. “Speak the names of those who have died, so that they are not lost from memory. Step out into the sunshine and the rain with equal joy, and cherish the feel of the wind upon your skin.
Know that to live is a gift, and even when it is taken from us, understand we have been fortunate to possess such grace.”
She pulled me closer. “That is all that can be done, Elizabeth, to thwart Death. None of us can escape Him for all time, nor should we mourn such a fact.
When He is done with His work, He takes us to join those we have loved and lost in Heaven. But enjoy life for as long as it is yours. In that way do we defy Death. In that way do we learn to live without fear of Him.”
That’s what I’ve tried to do since Alzheimer’s took my dad. Since old age took my dog. I live, and I look for silver linings. For hidden, unexpected joy, and I always find it.
In 2020 I still use silver linings to handle things like Covid. To help my mother with her steady decline. Mom has always been the Ever-Ready Bunny. She never, ever, stopped moving.
After dad died, she slowed down, sits down, and even naps. She never did that before, ever. I know our time is finite, not forever, so I look for those silver linings – like finding letters from my grandfather that Mom forgot she had, or discovering my prom picture from 1977. Yikes! That was 43 years ago if I got the math right!
Here’s the link for G. Lawrence’s book (That’s her writing name!):
Part 1 – Update on Taking a Writing Class
I wrote a post about taking a writing class back in June. Here’s the link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/taking-a-writing-class
It started with this illustration and these words: This is the main character from a story I’ve worked on since 2011. Her name, Poppy Minor . . .
That was June 13th. I was finishing chapters 13 & 14, and I was 44 days into my class. I was still hoping to finish all 30 chapters, by the middle of July. I said I’d update you back on June 13th, and here it is . . .
I sent in Chapters 13 & 14 on June 18. Chapters 19 & 20 went in July 7.
I sent in Chapters 15 & 16 on June 28. Chapters 21 & 22 went in July 20.
I sent in Chapters 17 & 18 on July 2. Chapters 23 & 24 went in on July 29.
It took me about 7 days to edit and submit two chapters. Then I fell off a cliff!
I sent in Chapter 25 & 26 on September 12. It took me 45 days to get them done.
Chapter 25 only took 3 or 4 days. Chapter 26 took the rest. I knew it would be more than a week, but I never ever would have guessed 40. That’s Biblical! Like Noah and that ark, 40 days and 40 nights!
Left: Chapters 27 & 28 The final Chapters 29 & 30
Will it take me 90 days to finish 4 chapters? It could even be 30- 40 days a chapter. I hope not! I’d love to finish before Christmas!
Part 2 – How & Why I Got Stuck
Poor Poppy! She was stuck in her story like this ant is trapped in amber. I hadn’t written or edited Chapter 26 in 5 years. The good news – I grew as a writer during that time. The bad – the words in Chapter 26 were trapped in time.
The other 25 chapters grew with me. I learned to add in the 5 senses. Writing what Poppy saw was easy, but the others were harder. Middle grade novels don’t have pictures so words have to show what Poppy was hearing, smelling, feeling, even tasting. That’s how readers become part of the story.
I also learned how to show, then tell. In stories you never say Poppy’s sad. You write . . . Poppy was lost outside. She couldn’t find her way home. She felt hopeless. Showing, then telling helps you bond with a character.
Then I took a writing class in May and June. I worked my way through those first 25 chapters. I learned how to give each character their own personality. I have 6 ants in the story, but each one has to be different. You have to tell them apart, like you do with identical twins.
I added a new character, another bee. He has to be different than the first one, and he has to become part of the plot.
I also built up the middle. It used to be saggy. Now it’s not. I have 2 more chapters till I reach the climax. In a middle grade novel that’s the point where the main character is hopeless. They feel like everything is lost, that they will never succeed. I must push Poppy to the breaking point. Then in chapters 29 and 30 I can drive her towards a satisfying ending.
I wonder, will chapter 27 and 28 be harder than 26? Will I reach my breaking point?
I think chapter 29 and 30 will be easy, like Sunday morning. At least that’s what Lionel Richie used to sing about.
PS – I’ll do an update to let you know.
LAKE FUN came out on May 9th.
On the 19th, Vivian Kirkfield helped us celebrate with an Amazon review, a birthday post, and an interview about how this story came to be. Click on the link, and you can read it too.
Valerie Biel welcomed us to her website on June 3rd. She started with a LAKE FUN review and ended with the Super Six – six of my favorite things.
In-between she asked how I got started, the choices I made in LAKE FUN, even my first job. Click the link, and you can find out more about us.
Here’s Valerie’s link: https://valeriebiel.com/blog/lake-fun-you-and-me-book-review-and-interview-author-rinda-beach?fbclid=IwAR2PcwtJonwPOQdiqWxjuLagGGcbDCZ8mJyur2J9pvdwUOG-YtvJZGaxi9
June McCrary Jacobs posted our interview on June 8th. Scroll past the ‘About the Author and About the Book,’ and you’ll see my favorite illustrations from LAKE FUN. Keep going, and you’ll find my favorite part of the interview – 10 Behind the Scene Facts About the Book. You won’t see them anywhere else, altogether like this. Click the link, and enjoy!
Here's June's link:
Welcome to Math is Everywhere, and Kaitlyn Sanchez’s interview from July 10th. She had five questions about LAKE FUN – my inspiration, why I made it interactive, my favorite thing to do at the lake, and my hope for this book. My last answer made her LOL. Kaitlyn asked if I could fly a kite or have tea by the fire with my favorite author, what would I pick? My answer – neither! You’ll have to click to read the part that made her laugh!
Here’s Kaitlyn’s link: https://kaitlynleannsanchez.com/2020/07/10/author-interview-and-giveaway-about-lake-fun-interactive-book-by-rinda-beach/
Podcast #1 –
Welcome to http://www.jedlie.com/, the online home of Jed Doherty. I’ve been on his program twice. It’s nice to see what he really looks like.
Jed and I sat down to talk about LAKE FUN, and our chat went live on June 21st. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking to him.
Here’s Jedlie’s Link:
Podcast #2 –
Hello from https://conniebdowell.com/, Connie B. Dowell’s home page. Our podcast went live on June 24th. The next 3 paragraphs from that link . . .
“Hello from the road! The Dowell family is taking a very careful, socially distanced trip to see my parents…and basically not leave their house the whole time we are there. Wish us luck! We have packed so, so, so many disinfecting wipes.
Today, we’ve got a repeat guest, children’s author Rinda Beach. This time, she’s talking about how she created her latest book, Lake Fun for You and Me, which is both a picture book with a story and a journal with prompts for kids to write and draw about their own lake experiences. If you’re writing a book with an interactive or journaling element, this is the episode for you!
Finally, as I recorded my intro and outro for this episode, I thought I’d be back next week with a regular episode, but as I coped with work and travel, I’ve had to reassess. So, I’ll be taking my first week off of podcasting since last year. Talk to you all again on July 8th!"
Here's Connie’s link: http://bookechoes.com/2020/06/24/writing-a-book-with-a-journaling-element-with-rinda-beach/?fbclid=IwAR2PcwtJonwPOQdiqWxjuLagGGcbD
Meet Korrie – She’s celebrating her first picture book. It came out September 1st. Tomorrow it’s a week old. Korrie is both its author and illustrator. Her next picture book will come out April 1st, 2021.
Korrie has a tremendous reach. She does freelance and published illustrations. She writes picture books and young adult novels. I don’t know many people who have this kind of range.
Korrie lives in San Francisco, California with her husband and two cats. I found their photo on her website.
When Korrie’s not writing or illustrating, you’ll find her playing soccer, enjoying coffee at her favorite shop, or looking for a new book. She has stacks and stacks of them in her apartment, but so far there’s always been room for one more.
If you’d like to learn more about Korrie, check out her website: https://www.korrieleer.com/
On the left is one of Korrie’s illustrations. You can see more by clicking ‘About’ on her website.
On the right is a sample of Korrie’s freelance work. She does logos,
mascots, invitations, gifts, marketing materials, and nursery/wedding décor. Click on ‘Freelance’ to see more of her work. There’s also a form to contact Korrie.
Part 2 – Korrie in Books
Korrie’s Debut Picture Book
Having a new baby can be traumatic for a big brother or sister. It is for Cassie. Boxes arrive, but they’re not for her. Then the baby appears and takes the attention. But when the loud nonstop crying starts, Cassie has to do something. She finds an empty box and tries to sail away from the noise. Will it work? You’ll have to read to find out.
PS – This book is perfect for families with new babies. It lets the big sibling escape, but there’s something that makes them want to return home again.
Coming soon . . .
April 1, 2021 . . .
You can preorder it now.
Sisters Leah and Lilly have one thing in common – they share a bedroom. Leah’s mess drives Lilly crazy, and she thinks only a wild animal could share a room with her. Imagine all the fun Lilly can have picking the perfect zoo-mate for her sister. This sounds like the perfect book to help kids get through sibling battles.
It depends – but the right dog fits your family, and your family fits the dog too. When my kids were little, we took an online test. The first time nothing fit, so we tried again.
Test #1 If you want an easy test, try this link from The American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/dog-breed-selector/
Scroll down and start the quiz. Five answers and you’ll find your match. Mine – a Boston Terrier.
Don’t stop! The AKC suggested four more dogs, and they compared all five based on – Personality, AKC Popularity, Group, Size, Life Expectancy, Characteristics, Trainability, Coat Length, Grooming, Shedding, Activity level, and Barking.
Shedding is key. If I could have a dog, I’d learn more about the Boston Terrier and the Lagotto Romagnolo.
A huge consideration – how much does that doggy cost? I’ve never heard of a Lagotto. My guess is that it’s expensive, and hard to find. Boston Terriers are more common so they’re cheaper, and easier to find.
Didn’t find your dog yet? Me neither, but my husband is not a dog-lover like me. If I can’t have one, it’s fun to look.
Here’s another quiz. It has a few more questions, 18, but they’re about things like why you want a dog, how much time you can give to doggy devotion, and temperament, yours and the dog’s!
Here’s the link: https://www.selectadogbreed.com/
Here are my results, by percentage!
1. Boston Terrier 86% 2. Shitzu Maltese 86% *
3. Brussels Griffon 83% 4. Japanese Spitz 83%
5. Shih Tzu 81% 6. Cairn Terrier 79%
That Boston Terrier again! No other dog reappeared. This quiz gives out percentages. I didn’t get a single A, but the Boston Terrier and I are a solid B, and the Cairn Terrier is a C+. Every other dog is in between.
This site also sent me an email with 4 more suggestions, all in the C range–
1. Shih-Poo 78% * 2. Lhasa Apso 75%
3. Moodle 74% * 4. Yorkie-Poo 74% *
I added five asterisks. They’re all ‘hybrid’ dogs. It’s easy to tell what a Shitzu Maltese, but a Shih-Poo? It’s half Shih Tzu and Poodle. A Moodle – Maltese and Poodle, and a Yorkie-Poo – Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle.
They also gave me a Results Analysis:
1. We understand that the reason you want a dog is for companionship at home.
2. You prefer your dog's size to be small and prefer a dog that doesn't shed much.
3. Your property is a freestanding house with a garden. (I have a small yard.)
4. With regards to children you answered that you sometimes have young kids visiting but you aren't planning on having your own (I have one grandchild now.)
5. The main carer for the dog will be an adult between 60 and 80 years old who is physically fit and healthy.
6. You will be able to exercise your dog 20 minutes a day.
I looked more at the Brussels Griffon and Cairn Terrier. If I had to pick, the Cairn is in the lead, but I’ll keep looking, just for fun. I wonder if any of these dogs will reappear tomorrow's quiz.
Here’s my favorite from yesterday, the Cairn Terrier. He reminds me of Toto from the Wizard of Oz, but, can he stand up to twelve questions from Purina? Here’s the link:
OH, MY GOODNESS! The Cairn Terrier wasn’t even on the list! Two new dogs are listed as Almost Excellent Matches, but they never came up before. I wanted to find out why so I clicked on the green arrow after Almost Excellent. It gave me a list of traits for each dog I clicked on. Now I can compare to see which dog fits me best.
The Pug and French Bulldog fit my life, but they don’t call my heart. For now, I’ll still keep them on my list.
The next set of dogs, starting with the Affenpinscher, are pretty good matches for me. I like its looks, but it barks and likes active walks. Maybe I could find the sleepy head in the litter.
None of these dogs made me click that arrow. I’m not a fan of Chihuahuas. Papillons look like they need too much brushing, and a Pointer is too big. They’re hunting dogs, and this grandma doesn’t hunt, except at the mall.
Well, the Lowchen looks like major brushing. I’m not into hunting with a big old Deerhound, and I’m still not loving that Boston Terrier, not when a Pug is cuter and fits me better!
The last two pretty good matches are the Greyhound and Whippet. They were actually in the mix back when we looked for our family dog. One of my kids wanted the Whippet because of the old Devo song – Whip it Good, but no one else did. The Boston Terrier came closer, but it was never a contest. We all loved our Border Terrier.
We found our breed, Border Terrier, on a Purina test 20 years ago. I couldn’t believe they hadn’t come up so I looked for them. We were a mismatch! I looked at those red x’s, and then I remembered my family.
Back then I had kids in K, 3rd, and 5th grade. Leia didn’t take to them right away, but she did within a week. They kept her busy, especially during the puppy years. Leia was a barker, but we managed.
The biggest problem was grooming. It just didn’t get done. She did some shedding, but not tons. Thank goodness for our cleaning lady who kept the hair under control.
Yesterday the Cairn Terrier was my top dog so I looked them up on Purina. There aren’t as many red x’s as my Border Terrier, but the barking and long walks worry me. My three kids are adults, but maybe, I could find a sleepy one, or an older dog that doesn’t bark a lot.
This was yesterday’s top dog, and it’s a good fit. A Pug doesn’t bark much. It doesn’t need long walks, but can it survive one last quiz with only ten questions? Here’s the link:
Animal Planet picked the Australian Terrier. It has never been top dog before so I checked Purina. We’re not an ideal match, as I suspected.
Animal Planet picked six Terriers and a Schnauzer. I love all those faces, but terriers are yappy active dogs. I double-checked on Purina, and none of them were ideal. I had a feeling.
1. Purina had the most accurate testing. If you’re looking for a purebred dog, it’s the place to go. If you want to find puppies, use the AKC link.
2. If you want to look at hybrid dogs like Doodles, go to the Selectadogbreed.com.
3. When I started this post, I expected to match up to a terrier, a schnauzer, or a doodle. I never thought my match would be a pug, but if my husband said yes to a dog, I’d look at one. I think we move through life at the same speed.
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!