Life changed back in March of 2020. Businesses and schools closed down. I thought things would return to normal by Easter, but Thanksgiving has come and gone. Life isn’t the same. Covid has taken some things away, but, if you look hard enough, there are some silver linings, and that’s what I’m holding onto.
1. Seeing My Mother – This isn’t my mother, but it could be. My mom’s in a nursing home, and I’m like so many people – I see her through a closed window.
We can’t hear each other so we use white boards. It’s a little more work, but, it helps us communicate.
We’ve been doing this since March. I miss going inside her house, sitting down, and chatting.
Now she’s at The Gardens, an assisted living home. There’s always plexiglass, glass, or six feet between us. I’m thankful for the white board.
I wish we could go back, but I know my mother is in a better place. She used to live alone, and I worried about her. Now she has people around 24/7 to help her.
2. Finding a Market for My Lake Book – Lake Fun debuted on May 9th, and I was hoping to have it for Memorial Weekend. That didn’t happen! Thanks to Covid everything took longer, from printing to shipping.
I finally got my order on June 5th, completely missing Memorial Day sales. When I arrived with my books, the marinas were like everyone else, just trying to survive.
I didn’t find a market for Lake Fun at the marinas, but, thanks to a God wink moment, I hope I found a better one with the rental market. I won’t know until March 2021. Fingers crossed!
3. Visiting the Lake – I have been to our lake house exactly four times since March. It usually is closer to nine.
I used to visit at least once a month for my critique group. But when Covid hit, we started meeting on zoom. It seemed safer for me to stay put in Wapak, so I did.
My first trip back didn’t come till June. That was to support my lake book. Then in July I made it down to see my sister. Her family needed a lake vacation as much as I did.
In September I drove down to help my husband get the boat out of the water. Now I’m here for Thanksgiving, and it’s my longest stay. I’ve missed it!
Covid took away my lake days, but not my love for it. There’s no place like the lake. The silver lining – being able to help my mother. Her health issues have been growing for several years. Covid pushed her into making a hard decision. Being home in Wapak meant I could give her more help with that decision, and its ramifications.
4. Seeing my Grandchild – The last time I got to see and hold my grandgirl was at her christening. That was in March, and she was 3 months old. (This isn't her, or me either.)
In June we were back in Texas to help my daughter and her husband move. I was hoping to see my GG, but my son said no. He was being cautious. It’s his job to take care of his family.
We didn’t go. How could we? What if we’d brought the Covid virus to them? How could we ever forgive ourselves?
We lost that time because of Covid, but we were lucky. My daughter-in-law sent lots of pictures and videos. It wasn’t the same, but it filled that hole. I’m hoping we get to see them at Christmas. What a gift that would be! My fingers are crossed!
5. No Subbing for Me – I haven’t subbed since last March. I was glad to take a break. It felt safer, and I thought schools would open before summer. They didn’t. The longer I’m out, the more I miss schools, teachers, and kids. There is so much life, so much energy. There’s no place like it!
One silver lining – writing time! There’s never enough. I have 4 manuscripts to get agent-ready by February. I write better stories, but there are no guarantees.
But the BIG silver lining – SLEEP! I’ve been fighting this since last October. I just discovered why. I stop breathing 10 times an hour. That’s every 6 minutes. No wonder I need 10 hours of sleep. It takes that long to make up for what I lose. If I don’t sub, I don’t get up early, and I can get in those 10 hours. It’s lovely, maybe even life-saving.
6. Cancelling Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving still came on the 26th, the 4th Thursday in November, but it was like no other. For 61 years I’ve always had my family around. I thought I would this year, but Covid cancelled it.
My son-in-law came into contact with Covid on the 20th. He went into self-quarantine for 14 days. He had a Covid test that came back negative, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe. He won’t be for sure, my daughter either, until December 4th. That’s still 4 days away.
My husband and I are both in our early 60’s. We did the safe thing, the prudent thing. We canceled Thanksgiving. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever done, but there’s always a silver lining.
My husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving together at the lake. Our first with just the two of us, in 35 years. The bright side – almost 2 weeks of peace, quiet, and a great view. I focused on sleep and writing. We talked to our kids, but the best part so far, no one has Covid. Maybe we’ll do a family Christmas, but only time will tell.
PS – If you’re wondering why I never show pictures of my family, it’s to preserve their privacy. I chose to write and publish blogs and books. They didn’t, so I respect their wishes.
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 3 – Becoming a National Holiday
5. Which president of the United States made Thanksgiving a national holiday?
Abe Lincoln Andrew Jackson
Ben Franklin John Adams
6. Which author convinced him to do it? Bonus Points if you know her most famous book.
Louisa May Alcott Harriet Beecher Stowe Sarah Josepha Hale
And the answers are . . .
Here are the multiple choice answers, in historical order. Are you ready for the answer?
5. The man who helped build this cabin in Indiana when he was a boy, was the president who made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Did you guess Abraham Lincoln? Wow! What took so long!
2 Fun Facts – Andrew Jackson, our 7th president, was the first president who was not one of our founding fathers.
He lost to John Quincy Adams, the son of the 2nd president, on his 1st try. Jackson was an outsider to Washington. He was born in the Carolinas, but came to the White House from the great state of Tennessee.
Meet the authors! Which one looks like she fought a 17 year battle to make Thanksgiving a holiday?
6. Who do you think talked Abe Lincoln into making Thanksgiving a holiday? It was the woman who lived in this house.
Her name – Sarah Josepha Hale. I didn’t know her name either, even though I had a book about her in my 2nd grade collection. My daughter has it now.
Sarah was persistent! She talked to president after president for 17 years before Abe finally thought it was a good idea.
You may not know her name, but I bet you know her most famous story – Mary Had a Little Lamb. It’s still sold on Amazon! I think it’s wonderful that the author with the youngest audience is the one who persuaded Abe to make Thanksgiving a holiday. This year I’m thankful for Sarah Josepha Hale!
Do you see Louisa’s book? It’s a middle grade novel, and it’s still sold on Amazon. The cover was its 150th anniversary edition. That makes it a classic, and it’s still relevant – Amazon has recent videos for sale.
Harriet’s book is last. It’s written for adults, and it had a huge effect on its readers. It was written by a woman, who couldn’t even vote. When she met President Lincoln, he said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” WOW! That’s powerful! What a great compliment from an American hero!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 2 - The Meal
3. How many people attended the first Thanksgiving?
53 90 105 143
4. Which food was NOT on the menu?
Turkey Mashed Potatoes Lobster
And the answers are . . .
3. There were 143 people at the first Thanksgiving.
There were 105 pilgrims on the Mayflower, but only 53 of them made it through that first year – 4 women, 22 men, and 25 children/teenagers. It was a terrible year!
They wouldn’t have made it to that first harvest without the help of Chief Massasoit. They invited him and 90 Wampanoag Indians to their big feast.
4. Mashed potatoes weren’t on the menu. Potatoes came from South America. The Spanish conquistadors brought them back to Spain, but they weren’t popular enough in England to have made it back to the colonies.
Wild turkeys were definitely on the menu. So were ducks, geese, and swans.
Can you believe lobsters made it to the feast? The bay was full of them! The Pilgrims also caught mussels, bass, clams, and oysters.
Cranberries were also on the table, the whole berry. But without sugar, there was no sauce.
Their stuffing was a mixture of herbs, onions or nuts. There was no flour to make bread or pie crust.
They might have made pumpkin custard. Early settlers mixed pumpkin, milk, honey, and spices into an empty pumpkin. They would have roasted it in hot ashes. No ovens yet either!
Source: 1. History.com | Date Updated: November 25, 2019 - great resource for Thanksgiving food.
3. History of the First Thanksgiving (historyofmassachusetts.org) - Great place to find out who was there!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 1 - The Landing
It’s November 23. Time to think Thanksgiving thoughts. Here are your first two trivia questions . . .
1. What’s the name of the spot in Massachusetts where we think the Pilgrims landed?
New Jersey Plymouth Rock Boston Nantucket Island
2. When did they land in 1620? Nov. 11 Nov. 26 Dec. 10 Dec. 18
And the answers are . . .
1. This is Plymouth Rock. It’s where we think the Pilgrims landed back in 1620. See! It’s on the rock!
But the Pilgrims never refered to Plymouth Rock in any of their writing. The first known written reference was in 1715. That was almost 100 years later. Did they still remember, a rock?
The first documented claim was in 1741 by Elder Thomas Faunce. How did he know? He wrote about it – 121 years later!
2. The Pilgrims didn’t land on November 11th. The Mayflower was sitting in Provincetown Harbor. No Plymouth Rock – in sight! That’s when the men signed the Mayflower Compact. This photo’s the Mayflower, but it’s only a copy of the original.
It wasn’t November 26th either. There’s nothing on the calendar until December 10th. That’s when a scouting group found a good harbor on the west side of Cape Cod Bay. In between the pilgrim men sent out search party after search party looking for a great landing spot.
Why? They needed a place for ships to land. They would still need supplies to come from England. Eventually they’d ship out their own goods/products to sell back to English markets.
They finally landed on December 18th, one week before Christmas of 1620. Why didn’t they land sooner? Bad weather! Can you imagine living aboard ship in December without a heater, or, trying to build new homes in the cold New England winter? YIKES!
Plymouth Harbor Source: By Linear77 - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34890560
Plymouth Rock: By jjron - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19571461
Mayflower II: By GmaJoli - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51381537
Information Sources: 1. en.wikipedia.org
3. Mayflower Lands at Plymouth - HISTORY (This site has great photos and quick video clips)
When you’re having a bad day, nothing makes you feel better than a good song. I like happy ones, with a beat you can dance to. I’ve played around with the idea of doing a musical pick each week, but a bad day convinced me to start. I hope it helps you too. Here’s this week’s pick . . .
DAY BY DAY
I sing these words when I’m having a bad day. They help.
Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day.
Here’s the 1972 version. It reached #13 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Link: https://youtu.be/P3PjfBQjJT8
Day By Day is from Godspell, an Off-Broadway musical from May of 1971. The show is written as a series of parables from the New Testament Gospel of Matthew.
You can see it on Disney channel. It’s on Kristen Bell’s show, Encore. Godspell is season 1, episode 7. Kristen reunited a high school cast from 21 years ago. They had a week to put it back together again. I love seeing the cast then, and now.
Day By Day Source: Day by Day (Godspell song) - Wikipedia
Picture Source: Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27351257
I have been looking for an agent since I finished my first story in 2009. Back then I discovered my stories were well written, but not good enough to be published. There’s a difference, and I discovered I had a lot to learn.
I worked at my craft. When I retired in 2015, I was closer. A writer I admired thought a manuscript was close. It just needed a little more work so I revised and edited till I pushed it as far as I could. It was better, but not agent-ready.
I didn’t quit. I kept working on my stories, sending them out when I thought they were ready. I self-published two of them. This year I have a story that someone’s been interested in for a year, someone else for two years. Now I have the chance to audition for them. My assignment – to have four stories agent-ready by February.
How Do You Audition for an Agent?
If you were a musician, you would play or sing for them. If you were an actor on stage or on the silver screen, you would act out a scene for them. It might be from a movie, a play, or a TV show, depending on your skills, and the role you’re auditioning for.
You might do an interview, but not like either of these. You wouldn’t go in front of a microphone and camera. That’s a news interview, and you wouldn’t sit in front of someone at a desk. That’s a job interview.
In each of these auditions, you tryout, or interview with your work. I work in words, with stories. I don’t write them with pen and paper. I don’t even print them out any more. When I first started writing in 2007, I printed out those stories, and I mailed them in.
Now I write all of my stories on the computer, and I send them out that way too, over the internet using email.
I’ve already started getting ready for the February auditions. That means pushing each of the four manuscripts as far as I can, then sending them out for review.
The Next Step – My Three Critique Resources
One is like an old friend. I’ve used it since 2018. The second is an acquaintance I recognize, but I’ve only used it once or twice. The third is brand-new, and I’m ready to try it out!
The Writing Magic Membership Group is now my go-to group. It’s online, and I’ve been meeting here with Callie and company since 2018. They’re my writing community!
Callie puts out her call for manuscripts on Wednesday, and we meet the next day, on Thursday. In between we read each other’s work so we’re ready to discuss what’s working and what isn’t. We meet 2-3 times a month. It’s wonderful!
Rate Your Story is another writing group I belong to. I can send in 18 manuscripts a year to a group of published authors. They judge the stories they’re assigned. They send me a score and comments.
The score and the judge’s name aren’t important, but those comments are, especially if you want to get into traditional publishing, the path I’m on now.
I sent in one story. I got it back. My judge didn’t give me any line edits, the easy fixes. They gave me ideas to improve the story structure. (That’s in the next section.)
The Picture Book Mechanic is my new resource. Callie from Writing Magic recommended her when I asked about getting agent-ready. I emailed Lynne Marie, and I sent her my first manuscript. I should get something back in a week or two. The Picture Book Mechanic is busy!
Callie said to be ready for tough critiques. I like knowing what Lynne Marie likes, but it’s more important to know what I can fix. I believe in doing the hard work to make my manuscripts stronger.
Tomorrow – What’s next, when you get a critique back?
What Happens After You Get a Critique Back
1. Take time to think.
I got my duck manuscript back from Rate Your Story. I read over the critique. I transferred the comments into my manuscript. I didn’t dive into changes. I gave my brain time to think.
Reading/transferring helped me understand the suggestions. I couldn’t make those changes right away. I needed to wrap my head around them to see new possibilities.
There were two big things my judge wanted me to look at, the main character’s name and the three tries he made at his problem.
2. Work and make changes.
I researched names and duck behavior for a day or two. I put my notes at the end of the story.
Then I took a couple days to go in and out, making changes. I stopped and started. I moved ahead, and then went back to the beginning again.
I didn’t think I’d change the main character’s name, but I did. Somehow that small change made it easier to see new possibilities.
The duck manuscript’s revised . . .
3. Edit, edit, edit.
The duck story is ready for editing, but not from a paper. I’ll listen to it over and over again using the narrator on my computer. I can see and hear the words at the same time. Fixing errors is easy!
I also read my manuscript out loud. It’s another way to hear those errors. I’ll repeat the editing step over and over again until my story is as good as I can make it. Then . . .
Then I’ll start the process all over again. I’ll send that manuscript back to one of my critique resources. While I wait, I’ll work on another story or two.
Here’s to my latest adventure – getting four stories agent ready by February! May the force be with me!
The Definition of Godwink
Godwink – An occurrence so odd and out of ordinary, it had to be put in place by God. A wink from God letting you know you’re in the right direction.
How A Lost Purse Winked at Me
Last July I was running errands and took a few minutes to shop. At dinnertime I discovered my purse was missing, probably for a couple hours. I was losing so many things, and that’s one of my signs of stress.
When you lose something, the best thing to do is backtrack to all the places you visited. I was sure I knew where I’d left it, at the store where I shopped. I could picture it – on the shelf, by the cash register, where I set it down. I’d already checked my house and my car. Where else could it be?
I called the shop, and Melissa checked. It wasn’t there. I couldn’t believe it, and I was starting to panic.
Melissa invited me to stop by. She was waiting for a vendor so I hurried back. No purse., but there was a guy who wanted in. It was the vendor. Melissa let him in, plus a couple ladies who’d been looking in the window. They took a quick look and headed out again.
I ran down the street to check another store. No luck!
When I returned, the ladies were still there. We chatted again. I was so glad to see and talk to people after so much lockdown isolation. One of the moms connected me to my book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. She’d given it to her daughter, and I’d autographed it for them.
We also discovered that I’d subbed in her daughter’s room. She’d come home with tales of me and said it was the best day she’d had all year.
That was my Godwink Moment. I’d been feeling lonely and depressed.
It meant the world that this mother and daughter remembered me. It came when I needed a boost, when I needed to know I’d made a difference. And it all happened because I’d been out looking for a lost purse.
As for the purse, it was sitting on a chair at my dining room table the whole time. I couldn’t see it because of all the clutter I’d thrown around it, which sounds a lot like my life last July.
How A Table with a River of Blue Winked at Me
Do you see the table below, with a river running through it? It’s a gorgeous piece of work, and it even lights up in the dark. I love it, but it’s way more than I’m allowed to spend. I was in Riverside Art Center where things like tables and art, jewelry and books are for sale.
It was July, and I was either shopping at Riverside or selling books. I think I was doing both. That’s when the designer/builder of the table stopped in. I wound up chatting with him about the table and my book. He was surprised to discover LAKE FUN is about Norris Lake.
His sister owns a house. She lives there and rents it out. He was going to take a book mark, but decided to buy the book for her. He thought it would make a great gift for her renters. Melissa said someone else looked at my book and had the same idea. It was a Godwink moment, and I actually recognized it that day!
Usually it takes longer for me to get it, but I realized, that day at Riverside, that my market for LAKE FUN wasn’t in the marinas. It was in the rentals. Thanks for the wink, God!
I approached my favorite marinas about their rentals in July, but they didn’t want to think about it. By July their season was almost over. They said to check back with them in March.
A month later in August I did the Indie Workshop with Brooke. She has her own small publishing house. I started wondering if a hardback book might sell better in the rental market. Writing isn’t just about words on a page. It’s also about sales. If you can’t sell an idea to an agent, publisher, or customer, there is no book.
I thought those rental owners might prefer to give out hardbacks as gifts. They’re nicer. The opportunity cost is only $10 more. That’s tiny compared to the price of each lake rental unit. Brooke thought it was a great idea. She picked us up. Then she suggested turning LAKE FUN into a chapter book.
The first night I wasn’t ready to change, but I thought about it. Especially for my target audience. They’re age 7-11, grades 1-5. They’re not into picture books.
Sharp first graders want to read chapter books. By the next morning I decided a chapter book would be a better fit for them, for the marketplace, and for me. I made the change, all because of that Godwink moment. I’ll let you know how ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN does. I should know before summer starts.
If you’d like to read more about my journey, and ZOE’s with BiblioKid author, click on this link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/me-a-bibliokid-author
Part 1 - The Branches of the US Military
1. Which military branch was established first?Army Marines Air Force Navy Coast Guard
2. Can you put them in order historically, first to last?
3. What is the newest branch that was founded by President Trump?
And the answers . . .
1. The Army was first to be created.
2. The Historical Order for our Military Branches
June 14, 1775 The Army’s established.
October 13, 1775 The Navy’s created
November 10, 1775 The Marine Corp are formed
August 4, 1790 The Coast Guard’s established.
September 18, 1947 The Air Force is created.
*** Bonus Question ***
Why did the US form three military branches in 1775?
We were in the run-up to the Declaration of Independence. It came out on July 4th, 1776. The Revolutionary War would soon follow
3. The Air Force Space Command was formed on September 1st, 1982. It became an independent branch, The Space Force on December 20, 2019.
Sources: More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Part 2 – The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
4. Which part of the military guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia?
Army Navy Air Force Marines
5. Where is the Tomb of the Unknowns?
Washington, DC Arlington, Virginia
6. Which war did the first Unknown Soldier serve in?
The American Revolution The Civil War
Custer’s Last Stand World War I
And the answers . . .
4. The US Army guards the tomb. It was first guarded by the 3rd Calvary from Fort Myer, Virginia. The 3rd Infantry Regiment took over April 6, 1948,
Many soldiers volunteer for this service, but only 20% are accepted for training. Then only a small fraction of those will actually become guards.
The sentry in the photo is ‘walking the mat.’
- He marches south for 21 steps.
- Then he faces east for 21 seconds.
- He faces north, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
- Next he marches north 21 steps.
- He faces east again for 21 seconds.
- Then he faces south, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
The sentry will repeat this march until the guard is changed, and he’s relieved of service.
Why all the 21’s? It’s our highest military honor – a 21-gun salute.
The weapon arm is always on the shoulder nearest visitors. It protects and honors the Unknown Soldier. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
5. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in Arlington, Virginia. That’s only 6.6 miles from Washington, D.C.
6. The Unknown Soldier served in World War I. Congress approved the memorial on March 4, 1921. Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated soldier, was selected to choose the unknown.
He was shown four caskets from a cemetery in France. He picked the third one. It was sent home. The other three caskets are interred, buried in France.
That third casket lay in State in the Capitol Rotunda. It was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921, where it’s still guarded today.
I thought there was just one unknown soldier, but there are four. The other three are on the west side of the Tomb. They represent the unknown from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
The other unknowns are in flush tombs. That means their caskets lie under a slab of white marble.
The Unknowns are guarded 365 days a year. Day and night, in all kinds of weather, men and women watch over them in silence, never knowing their name, but honoring their service. In this photo, with a rose. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
Part 3 – American Military Cemeteries
7. Which state has a military cemetery that belongs to England?
New York Massachusetts Virginia North Carolina
8. There are enemy combatants buried in Arlington National Cemetery. True or False?
9. How many American military cemeteries are located around the world? 16 20 26 30
And the answers . . .
7. This is the English cemetery, on the island of Ocracoke, in North Carolina. How did it get there? Here’s its story . . .
Back in 1942 German U-boats targeted American ships leaving from the Atlantic coast. They were sailing to Europe with supplies for the Allies. The Germans sank 35 American ships in January alone.
The US asked Great Britain for help. They sent ships to patrol the eastern seaboard. One of them, the Bedfordshire, was sunk by a German U-Boat in May of 1942. Everyone was lost. Four bodies washed ashore on Ocracoke.
The islanders buried them and built the monument in the photo. They also leased the land to Great Britain in perpetuity, forever.
Every May Americans and Brits come together to remember the sacrifice of the crew from the Bedfordshire.
Question Source: BBC | Date Updated: September 3, 2020
9. There are 26 military cemeteries for American servicemen and women around the world. There are also 30 memorials, monuments and markers. Here are 6 of them.
These cemeteries and monuments are found in 17 countries around the world including France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Panama, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Tunisia, the Solomon Islands, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Gibraltar, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Morocco. There’s even a monument, a tree, in Cuba.
Click on this link and you’ll find an interactive map, plus more information. https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/cemeteries-memorials-map
This is the homepage for BilioKid Publishing. Here’s the link: https://bibliokidpublishing.com
I’m not on the homepage but you can find me. Click on the button – OUR AUTHORS & ILLUSTRATORS or the link below. I’m at the bottom. That’s because I’m the new kid on the Biblio Block!
Meet Brooke Van Sickle, the author of four books. Teacher to aspiring writers, like me, who dream about getting our stories out to kids. If you want to join me on this trip, click on . . .
This year Brooke founded BiblioKid Publishing. The publisher’s name – Brooke Gansemer. That’s her new married name.
Brooke is incredibly talented . . . she’s also the Regional Webmaster for the Iowa-SCBWI region. It shows. Just look at the BiblioKid website! I checked into it when I started writing this post. BOW – WOW – WOW!
Click on this button – SHOP OUR BOOKS, or this link:
This is what you’ll see. Brooke’s newest book, THIS IS MY CASTLE. You can preorder it from the BiblioKid website.
You can also find my Lake book, with a new title – ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN. Click on READ MORE, and you can! I was surprised to find something here. I didn’t write it, but I love the ideas Brooke used. I see them added into my words, and it’s thrilling!
Here’s what she posted – I love it! Thanks, Brooke!
How I Became a BiblioKid Author
I never expected to take this voyage. It started with last summer’s book about Zoe, Maddie, and Nick, and how they found lake fun. It also had room for the reader to record their own lake experiences. I had nine great reviews, but the book never took off.
Covid made everything harder, but Lake Fun never found a market at the marinas. That’s where I thought it’d sell.
I might have a better market. Someone bought a book for his sister. She has a house that she rents at Norris. He thought it would make a great gift for her renters. Someone else told me they had the same idea.
I can only publish in paperback with KDP. Ingram won’t print anything in the journal style I used. I thought a hardback book might be a better fit for the rental market, so I decided to ask Brooke.
Brooke interviewed me in 2019 when NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM came out. This year I went on her podcast for the Indie Publishing Summit. I talked about LAKE FUN. Then I attended the rest of the conference. I learned a lot!
Like Brooke publishes with a local printer in Iowa. My first question – could she print LAKE FUN in hardback? Her answer – yes.
The next – was she interested in working with me and my manuscript? Her answer – YES! We met on Zoom to talk about how the process would work, and the timeline. Brooke had her presentation ready. I watched and listened. My questions came later.
I’ve never been in this situation before, and I wanted to understand my rights and responsibilities. Brooke wanted to do the new book as a second edition. I would have the copyright, and Brooke the ISBN numbers.
I checked every detail I could think of. It took me a week or two to decide, but I did. Brooke became my publisher and my editor. I knew changes were coming, but I was surprised when Brooke divided it into chapters.
I’m lucky . . . I have control over the changes. The first day I couldn’t imagine LAKE FUN with chapters, but the next morning I saw the potential. Now two months later, I’m happy I did.
The biggest change – Brooke asked for more detail, with the setting, with how the characters felt, and so on. I couldn’t do that on the 1st edition. Every time I added a sentence, I cut another one.
If I didn’t, the illustrations slid off the page. I think this 2nd edition is richer because of those new details. Now my part is done, and I can’t wait to see what BiblioKid and its art director will do with my illustrations.
Final Edits, Illustrations and Marketing
My work for Zoe and her scavenger hunt is almost done. I edited the new chapters, and Brooke loved them! Yay!
I just finished the questions for the scavenger hunt. I’m waiting to hear back from Brooke. She has a good eye for things that could be edited.
Tomorrow I’ll send her my new acknowledgements and dedication for the 2nd edition. I want to listen to them on narrator a few more times before emailing them to Brooke. I’m a perfectionist!
I just started looking for comp titles for Zoe and her scavenger hunt. When I wrote Lake Fun back in 2019, I didn’t find any that were similar to what I wanted to write. I thought that was a good thing – I had a novel idea. I was surprised when Brooke wanted them for this project.
Comp titles are similar books. They help publishers figure out if your manuscript fits them. They need to make money if they invest in you, and Brooke needs comp titles to market Zoe’s scavenger hunt fun, and I think I found some titles for her to use.
I used a comp title when I reviewed Mr. Lemoncello for you. It reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A comp title helps you link an old favorite to something new. It makes it easier to try a new book.
Comp titles are also used in marketing. That’s the part of publishing I know the least about, and I’m hoping Brooke will be my teacher. It’s one of the big reasons I signed with BiblioKids.
Can you guess what else Brooke started working on? If you guessed illustrations, you’re right. She has an art director who’ll look at what Rick and I did on the 1st edition. Then he’ll improve on it.
I’m thrilled! I did my best, but I’m not an art major. BTW – I draw stick people so my art skills are pretty limited, but, I have a good eye. I can tell what goes together. If you’re good at picking out your clothes, you have a good eye too!
I learned a lot being the art director for NEIL ARMSTRONG and LAKE FUN, but I’ll never be a professional. I’m glad to have one around to make ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN a great 2nd edition.
Plus, I get to approve their work. Usually authors don’t have a say on the illustrations, AT ALL. I’m excited to peek into their work!
P.S. I’ll keep you in the loop with Zoe and her chapter book. That’s the part of marketing I do understand.
I have an announcement to make. I’ve known for almost 2 weeks, but I kept it secret. My family didn’t think I could, especially for something this big. Can you guess what it is?
I’m going to be a grandma again, a grandma times 2! My son and his wife don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet. I don’t care – I’m so excited to meet this new person.
I already have a grandgirl, and I adore her. I live in Ohio, and she’s in Texas so I see her in pictures, or on video. She’s nine months old, and a doll! I have her Christmas presents already. I love to shop, but it’s even more fun when it’s for her. I hope she likes what I picked out.
The Itsy Bitsy News on Facebook
My Texas kids called and announced the news. I was over the moon excited, but I kept quiet, until they told their closest family and friends. When I saw the announcement on Facebook, I knew I could tell you. I can’t share their pictures, but I can tell you how they did it, Halloween style.
My grandgirl was the spider, my son the waterspout, and my daughter-in-law the web. Stuck to that web was a teeny tiny spider and some sonograms to announce the news – Itsy Bitsy 2 is on the way. I know – pretty adorable!
Me as a Grandma
When I think about being a grandma, about hanging out with a toddler, this is how I imagine it. Holding them up, talking to them, and exploring the world through their eyes. Everything is brand-new to them.
Preschoolers are fun. They have imaginations. They’re into everything from playing dress-up to building with Legos. I can’t wait to play and explore the world with my two grandkids!
Inspiration Strikes – Connecting the Dots This Grandma Imagined
How do you connect these dots? What would you do with them? Make a line? A diagonal? It’s all in what you can imagine, then connect!
Maybe you can see something completely different.
Like a butterfly, or a heart, or even a diamond!
I’m always amazed how people see the same thing, but somehow they talk about it in multiple ways.
Reaching out to the baby-to-be
These two pictures are the dots I imagined when I heard the news.
The first is my grandgirl, but this isn’t her. Soon, she’ll be meeting her new brother or sister. She won’t be an only child anymore. She’ll have a sibling, and life will change.
The second is my new grandbaby. He, or she is growing bigger each day, learning to work fingers and toes, legs and arms. I wonder how much my grandbaby knows about its mom and dad, its sister and dog. So many things to explore!
When I connected the dots, I came up with a story. I’d share, but I’d rather write it first. Stories change when you write them down. Then they change again each time you edit and revise.
Besides, I can’t start yet . . . I’m up to my ears with five different manuscripts. Soon . . . I’ll share what I’m up to. Here’s to anticipation, for you and for me!
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!