Part 1 – Zoe’s Release Date, and One Small Mistake
Zoe has a book birthday! It’s March 9th! That’s in a month and a half! Time has flown since I signed my BiblioKid contract in September. Now – my job is to learn and apply marketing skills. My first small job – to put a presale buy link on my website. Here’s the screenshot. I got the information. My web designer and friend, Lisa Amstutz added it to my site. She’s brilliant!
I have 200 copies ordered for the presale and for after March 9th. They’ll be a little more special than the later copies, a tiny bit different. Why? Because of one small mistake. Something’s missing. Can you see it?
Compare my old paperback with the new hardback. Do you see what’s missing? No? Let’s compare them. I see a title and a subtitle on LAKE FUN. ZOE doesn’t have a subtitle, but SCAVENGER HUNT FUN is definitely there. It’s not that!
There are 3 small pictures on the LAKE cover, but 1 huge illustration for ZOE so it’s not that either!
LAKE has my name as the author, but ZOE doesn’t! Bingo! That’s it! Can you believe that small detail got past me, past everyone at BiblioKid? I can’t believe it either!
Now I have 200 books coming without my name on them! Did I throw a fit? NO! It was a small mistake, and no one meant for it to happen . . . so I took a deep breath and stayed calm. I didn’t get mad. It’s not the worst thing ever . . . so I let it go!
But, Brooke at BiblioKids had a plan ready when she told me about the mistake. She designed special stickers for those first 200 books. I love it!
I think I’ll put it in the right-hand corner. If you’d like one of these special books with an autograph, click on this link, and reserve your copy! I love when a mistake becomes something new and interesting. Link: Zoe's Scavenger Hunt Fun - Rinda Beach
Part 2 – Packages That Arrive in the Mail
There’s nothing better than finding a package in your mailbox, especially when you’ve been waiting and watching for it every day! Brooke at BiblioKid put my book in the mail, and it finally arrived! I made sure I was careful with those scissors . . . It’d be terrible to damage my brand-new book!
Inside . . . a yellow card . . . and my book! Can you see it through the protective wrap? It’s exciting to hold a brand-new book. It’s like holding a new baby. I worked on the words and pictures for 3 months to get it just right for you, and for me too. Best of all I didn’t have to birth this baby by myself. Self-publishing is hard work. Brooke and her team of professionals at BiblioKid made it easier. Fun too!
And here it is . . . in my hands . . . the real book. It makes me happy to see my words and illustrations updated from LAKE FUN. It’s exciting to see the new ideas from BiblioKid come alive on the page! There’s something about the real book in my hands that’s richer than the original computer artwork it came from.
Part 3 – Peek Inside My Personal Copy of Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun
I believe mistakes can be turned into something good. So I opened the front cover and wrote this note inside . . .
My name may not be on the cover, but it’s still here. Tiny mistakes like this one are the things that something unique & valuable. Here’s to the unique! Rinda Beach 1-20-21
OOPS! Author lesson #1 – Proofread! I forgot. Again! I should have written. . . things that MAKE something unique and valuable. Don’t worry! I fixed it, in another color. Now I wonder – will it make my book even more unique and valuable?
Remember that yellow envelope from the box? It had a card inside. I hate to throw memories away.
Ask my family! So I taped the card into the back of the book. Now I’ll always have the card, and the memory. PS – the envelope went into the recycling.
My card was from Brooke, my editor and publisher at BiblioKid. She wrote . . .
Congrats on your almost book launch, Rinda! Thank you for entrusting us at BiblioKid Publishing to help you make your dream a reality. Just a few more weeks before Zoe’s out in the world. Can’t wait to celebrate! 😊 Enjoy reading the first copy.
This note says something wonderful about Brooke. It’s why I feel blessed to work with the BiblioKid family.
Stay posted! I’ll have more to tell you as Zoe’s book birthday gets closer.
PS – My daughter reminded me about March 9th. I forgot – it’s her birthday too. OOPS again! Two mistakes in one post. YIKES!
Started 1/19/21 On Chapter 2
I am a HUGE fan of Pride and Prejudice, and I bought this one back in 2013. I’m rereading it because I love how Linda weaves the language of flowers and human misunderstanding into this story.
“ Pride and Prejudice” and the language of flowers…
When Fitzwilliam Darcy leaves the inn in Lambton after a tense but fruitful visit with Elizabeth Bennet, her words cultivate his hopes. “Less naturally amiable tempers than Mr Bingley’s have found ways to forgive you.” Has she excused his flaws of character and errors in judgement? While dining at Pemberley, Elizabeth is confounded when Darcy says of her scent, “Now I find I am more fond of lavender than ever… certainly even more fond of it than I was in, say, April.” Has he pardoned her intemperate assault on his pride?
As her esteem blossoms into love and his desire flourishes into devotion, the meanings of every leaf and petal allow Elizabeth and Darcy to express emotions too vulnerable to speak aloud. But can messages in fronds and leaflets save their fragile hearts when scandalous news arrives from Longbourn?
Started 1/15/21 Finished 1/18/21
I picked this book because one of my writing mentors suggested it. The beginning confused me, but I’m glad I pushed on. It’s not my typical read. It’s way more character driven, but I liked taking a look at the world of the severely disabled and their caretakers. It wasn’t the ending I hoped for, but it fit this story, and I’m glad I read it.
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . . Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
Started 1/13/21 Finished 1/15/21
I’ve never read book 2, but I’ve loved Book #1 since 1980. Now I wonder why I didn’t.
Madeleine had me hooked in the first chapter. Something is wrong with Charles Wallace, and strange things are happening. I wanted to know what was going on, and why!
Good news for Charles Wallace – love was the answer! It always is.
It is November. When Meg comes home from school, Charles Wallace tells her he saw dragons in the twin's vegetable garden. That night Meg, Calvin and C.W. go to the vegetable garden to meet the Teacher (Blajeny) who explains that what they are seeing isn't a dragon at all, but a cherubim named Proginoskes. It turns out that C.W. is ill and that Blajeny and Proginoskes are there to make him well – by making him well, they will keep the balance of the universe in check and save it from the evil Echthros.
Meg, Calvin and Mr. Jenkins (grade school principal) must travel inside C.W. to have this battle and save Charles' life as well as the balance of the universe.
Started book 1/6/21 Finished 1/13/21
This is my 6th time through this book. The first time was in 1980 when I took my kiddie lit class. It’s required if you want to be an elementary teacher. For me, it was love at first page!
I was disappointed in the movie. My advice, if you love a book, skip the movie. 40 years later – the book doesn’t disappoint. I remember how much I loved Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, and IT feels more relevant than ever before.
A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.
Finished book – 1/5/21
I bought my kindle version in 2011, and I’ve read it at least half a dozen times.
I love this book because I remember the 70’s, Dick Clark, and the $20,000 Pyramid. I was transitioning from high school to college back then. I also love time travel, and Rebecca Stead had a great take on how it could be done.
Each time my next book is a Wrinkle in Time. That’s because Wrinkle plays a huge part in how Rebecca wove the story.
Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter—a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone.
It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.
Does this title crack you up! I laughed – when I wrote it. Then I remembered I’m in the business of playing with words. That’s how I tell stories – by putting together characters and plots – with words.
It’s important to know words and use them when you read and write. I was surprised to start getting emails from this link: Home | School Of Word Play. Then I started having fun with it!
Part 1 - GELID
Now I look at the emails to see if I know the word. This is the first one I didn’t. In my head I thought it started with a hard g as in gate, short e as in ed, and the word lid. WRONG!
Below is a screenshot of the top of the page for this link: Gelid (schoolofwordplay.com)
First up is the pronunciation, written the same way you’d see it in the dictionary. [jel – id]
Click on this link, and you can hear it read in a poem. Gelid | Pronunciation of Gelid in English (youglish.com)
If the gesture, from the poem, was gelid, what was it like –
Kind and caring or Distant and not friendly
If you guessed the 2nd one, you’re right. If someone talks to you in a gelid way,
they are definitely not your friend.
Now that you know the definition, which picture is gelid, the 1st or the 2nd?
If you said the 1st, you’re right! It’s from the winter. The 2nd is summer. It’s the opposite of gelid!
But there’s more to the School of Word Play. I love getting their email every day. The next screenshot is below. Did you find the Origin of Gelid? It’s a word from the 1600’s that’s rooted in Latin. Its Etymology – it originated from ‘gelidus,’ which came from ‘gelu,’ and it meant frost or intense cold.
Latin is a dead language, but it was the language of the Roman Empire and of the Catholic Church. Mass used to be said only in Latin. Now it’s mostly used in science to name things, by lawyers, and in high school Latin classes. I took French!
Go down to the Usage graph, and let’s apply it. Which president might have used Gelid? Was it George Washington, Abe Lincoln, or Teddy Roosevelt?
If you guessed George Washington, you’re right. He became President in 1789. The one least likely to use it was Teddy Roosevelt. He became President in 1901. Abe Lincoln was in the middle, 1861.
Synonyms and Antonyms are easy! I taught them in 2nd grade, but can you use gelid in a sentence of your own? Here’s the last screenshot:
My example: My new story felt ‘gelid.’ I know – YIKES!
I like looking at new words. I can guess what surly is. Sometimes when my writing isn’t going well, I feel surly. It’s definitely tortuous and hard to navigate when your words are twisting and turning. But puissant? I had to look it up. It means all powerful. I definitely DON’T feel that way with new writing.
Click on this link, and you can figure out how to pronounce it: how do you pronounce puissant - Bing
Part 2 – TYRO
Here’s the screenshot for tyro: Tyro (schoolofwordplay.com ]
Its pronunciation [ tahy – roh ]. I didn’t get this one right either. I thought it was tay-ro, like say plus row. I was close. It’s tie-ro, like how you tie your shoes. Click the link to hear it said correctly.
How to pronounce TYRO in English (cambridge.org)
Tyro is a noun. It’s a beginner, someone who’s learning something new. Which person would be a tyro? Someone who plays t-ball, or someone who plays major league baseball?
T-ball of course! That’s the first kind of ball a kid learns to play, usually in Kindergarten. The little girl in the picture is the tyro because she looks like she’s learning how to play the piano.
Can you guess who’s the tyro now?
Yes, the little skiers! You don’t want your doctor to be a beginner!
Where did tyro originate? From the Late Middle English period. That’s the 14 and 1500’s. Someone crossed the ocean blue in 1492. Christopher Columbus, of course!
Tyro came from Latin, from the word ‘tiro.’ In the Middle Ages it was spelled ‘tyro’ and meant recruit.
George Washington and Abe Lincoln probably used tyro, but Teddy Roosevelt, probably not.
Synonyms and antonyms are easy so let’s skip them.
The example sentence describes the piano picture perfectly. Mine – I’m not a tyro at writing, but I am at getting my stories published.
Here are 3 new words. I know them all. The house is definitely dilapidated, in need of BIG repair.
The middle fruit it juxtaposed between the other two. That means it’s placed to show similarities or differences, to compare or contrast.
The last picture confused me. That’s because a zealot is a person, not a place. Zealots believe they’re always right, and they won’t change their mind. Ever. Many politicians are zealots.
Part 3 – Aubade
Here’s the screenshot for aubade: Aubade (schoolofwordplay.com)
Its pronunciation [ oh-bad or oh-bahd.
I’m glad I had the pronunciation guide, or I would have guessed aw-bade. Not even close! If you look at the guide, then think oh and bad, you’ve got it! Here’s the link to prove it!
How to pronounce aubade | HowToPronounce.com
Where did Aubade originate? Not from Latin! It came out of France and Spain in the late 1600’s, when America was being colonized. It came from the Spanish words albada and alba. It means dawn.
If Aubade is a morning song, which picture illustrates it?
It’s the second one, with sunrise. I couldn’t believe when I googled a morning song, that this is the only thing that came up. There are albums of songs to help our littles wake up, but no category of songs, just for morning.
For the evening – there’s a bunch – nocturnes, lullabies, moonlight serenades. I wonder – is it easier to write later in the day? That inspired my aubade sentence – I can’t write an aubade because I never wake up in time. No LOL!
Did you notice The School of Word Play had 2 synonyms – song and poem? Power thesaurus had 31synonyms. The top 10 were morning words, but not a single one is a morning song.
The School of Word Play had 1 antonym – nocturne. Power thesaurus had antonyms, but they’re only night words, and I’m surprised they didn’t think of nocturne.
Here’s the photo from my screenshot of aubade. It looks like a lovely moonlight serenade. I just wish I could hear it.
Aubade’s usage has grown since 1850. George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt probably didn’t use this word, unless they knew French or Spanish.
The world has grown closer and more diverse thanks to technology. I wonder if that’s why aubade was used so much more in 2019.
I’ve never read or heard this word. Have you? Please message me if you have. I’ll share the results with my readers.
I’m lucky! I had four Facebook/Instagram friends who reached out to let me know something was wrong. I only know one of them personally, but I’m so grateful that all four of them saw, and then said something.
Here’s my story, just in case it happens to you. I would never have believed this could be true. I’m a retired teacher/writer from a small town in Ohio.
Part 1 – Two Cautionary Notes
This all started on October 16th, but I couldn’t find that message. I found this one from Karen on the 29th . . . Hi. I’m a friend of yours on FB, and I got a strange message from you on Instagram. Was it really you, or a fake you?
I answered back that I’d check. I did – no message, let alone a strange one. I asked for more information. She answered . . .
‘They’ sent a message to me today through Instagram. I am following you now twice. One account has 74 followers and no posts, which is the fake one. The other one, using your same photo, has posts.
I replied that I’d change my password again, like I did on the 16th. I thanked her again, and I hoped this was over, but it wasn’t.
On October 31st I got this message from Linda . . . Hi – Have you been contacting me via Instagram? I just want to double check that this is really you.
I apologized and said it wasn’t. I told her I’d changed my password twice already. That I was trying to figure out how to clean up this mess.
Linda wrote back . . . No worries. I just wondered because the messages are just a little off. Just now I got one asking if I know about some kind of domestic assistance grants. I’m going to block you for now, because I honestly think it’s a foreign bot. Will you contact me . . . when it’s resolved?
I couldn’t believe it! Domestic assistance grants? Foreign bots? I felt like I was in a spy movie. That’s when help arrived!
Part 2 – Help is on the Way
I messaged that night, the 31st . . . Linda, how did they get my name on IG? I just had a kiddo (I had her sister in school) who contacted me. I looked up my address and only found me. Do you have the address they were using? I want to get this cleared up, and you just can’t talk to IG. YUCK!
I’d forgotten – I messaged IG twice, and got no response. But I got this from the kiddo, AKA My Hero, on FACEBOOK . . . RINDA! Get on your Instagram if you’re able. Someone is impersonating you and trying to push “grant information.” I’ve sent you several messages with what they sent me and asked my Grandma to reach out to you as well.
Her Grandmother wrote . . . Jessica just called me and said she has been getting messages from you on Instagram about federal grants. She thinks your account has been hacked.
Wow! Jessica went above and beyond a friend! She called her grandmother who was one of my teaching buddies.
These are the original messages from Jessica. I can read the first line – RINDA URGENT! And the second – Someone is pretending to be you! The rest of both screen shots are what the ‘fake rinda’ wrote. I would NEVER write either of those messages. Sorry, if they’re a little fuzzy.
Jessica’s explanation of how they did it (extra j in the middle) is on the bottom right. She also said she flagged it but Instagram did NOTHING, even though I’d already filled out 2 reports. You’d think they would have pulled down the fake rinda. They didn’t.
This set of messages came up after Jessica’s grandmother finally got my attention. I’m so glad I could ask Jessica. You can tell – I had no idea what I was doing.
The funny thing that I learned from later messages – I couldn’t search and find this fake me, the one with the extra j in the middle. Jessica said they must have blocked me.
I did another report about THAT, but I didn’t hear anything from Instagram. NOTHING. Jessica flagged the fake account again, and Instagram didn’t respond to her either. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I have a writing friend whose web site has been blocked by Facebook for a year. A YEAR, and she’s a retired Kindergarten teacher.
Part 3 – Solving My Own Problem
It’s now January, 2021, and Instagram never got back to me – I really don’t know if the fake me is gone. The last time I checked with Jessica was on October 31st. She pulled down her flag, and the fake me was still there. She flagged them again, and suggested that I report again. I did, but I have yet to hear anything from Instagram. It’s not a surprise – the only 2 social media sites that respond to me are Pinterest and Weebly.
The only proof I have that fake me isn’t operating - no one has messaged me about grants or strange messages since October.
I didn’t rely on reports to Instagram. I put up my own post with an image that reminds me of Darth Vader. I added a message that I was hacked on Facebook, my Facebook business page, Instagram, and Twitter. Here’s a copy of that post . . .
Someone hacked me on IG so if you get a weird message from what looks like me, it's not. I only message people I know personally, and I don't do anything with grants.
My friend Jessica said - flag that weird account, and let me know. I'll keep reporting until this person leaves my account alone.
I’m glad I did! Here are my stats – I reached 11 people on my Facebook business page, 3 on my personal page, 16 on Instagram, and 0 on Twitter. Those are the ones that I know of. I wonder how many took a look and then scrolled on down.
Instagram is where I had the biggest response, 16. I also had 2 people who commented on my post.
One wrote . . . I received a strange message as well. Sorry that happened to you.
Another wrote . . . Yeah, I got that message. Maybe that’s who hacked me.
Part 4 – IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING
That’s what four people did for me. I only know one of them personally. It only took a few minutes, but the other three made a huge difference in my business. The squeaky wheel gets oiled.
I left a reporting trail. I don’t know if it made any difference, but at least it’s there. My conscience is at peace because I tried to do the right thing.
If I’m ever in the shoes of those friends who helped me, I’ll do what they did. If I see something off, I’ll say something. I’ll message them on a different account like Linda and Karen did. They saw the fake messages on Instagram, but they contacted me on Facebook. I so appreciated them and their help!
I’ll also do what Jessica did – I’ll flag the account and send in a report. Unfortunately, I don’t know the grandmothers of most of my friends, but I’d call them if I did 😊
Looking back the best thing I did was putting my message out on social media. I know there were at least 30 people who heard my story, and two of them were touched enough to write on Instagram. That’s where the original fake account originated from.
So if you’re ever in my shoes and you’re hacked, or you see something that’s not quite right, I hope you’ll take my advice – See something, say something.
I haven’t written about the audition since mid-November, but I’ve been steadily working on it. I have four stories to get agent ready by February. Here’s the link for where I was back then . . . Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
And now – here’s what my stories and I have been doing since November . . .
1. The DUCK STORY went through 3 rounds of critiques and revisions. I almost sent if off for a 4th, but I spent Christmas with my Texas kids. Tomorrow I’m back to the lake and back to work. Job #1 is to finish those ducks and send them off by Friday.
It’s amazing to go through this process, to see elements of my original story in this new edition, and to see how the changes improve the plot and the characters.
Drake is now Liam, but it’s a deeper change than just a name. Liam drives the action. He thinks harder, finds better ideas when the ducks challenge him. And the ducks, they’re harder to beat.
The other HUGE change links Liam’s duck struggles to his sisters. The metaphor deepens the plot. I can’t wait to send this manuscript back to Lynne Marie, the Picture Book Mechanic, to see what else she suggests. She pushed me, pushed this story, and we’re better because of it.
2. My Safety Story went through 2 rounds of critiques and revisions, so far. The first round started by cutting one scene. It was easy! That means it was fat, not muscle – that’s what I call essential/nonessential parts of a story. I made the changes and sent it off to Lynne Marie.
She liked the bones of the story and the character names, but Lynne Marie thought I should change the setting for the first scene. I had to think, hard, on how to make it happen. In fact, I did it last. I started with the easiest changes and moved towards the hardest ones.
When the changes were done, I listened to the story over and over again. Usually I do 3 sets of 3 listening/editing rounds, per story, per day. I do that for at least 3 days before I even consider sending it off for a critique. (Yes, I have a thing about 3’s!) Then I sent it off to Lynne Marie. She sent it back a couple days before Christmas. I saved it, and I’ll look at it this week. I’ll start by adding the notes to a fresh copy. From there, I’ll work my way through her notes, hopefully, next week.
3. My Dog Story has spent the last 2 months with Callie and her Writing Magic Critique group. It’s been through 4 rounds of critiques and 3 rounds of revisions.
In the first critique Callie suggested a name change. Names are everything in a story, for characters and titles! My own dog gave me this story idea. She was a Border Terrier named Leia, like Princess Leia from Star Wars. Her full name was Leia Millennia Beach, and yes, my kids LOVED Star Wars! They still do.
Princess has been the dog’s name since I wrote the first draft back in 2012. I took a look at names over a couple days. I tried Rascal. Callie didn’t think it worked. I trust her opinions so I looked again. I picked Coco. She loved it! Woohoo!
One of the most unexpected changes happened after I left Princess behind. Princess said arf, arf, but Rascal and Coco went ruff, ruff. I didn’t plan it, but arf felt wrong when I listened/edited. Ruff felt right. Editing is magic because sometimes, characters tell YOU what they want to say. It’s interesting – neither Rascal or Coco could say woof – they’re too small for that sound.
The other big change was in the story mission statement. It helps me focus which road the story and its plot should take. When I wrote there’s a battle going on between Coco and her girl Marlee, it completely changed the plot. I didn’t catch it right away. Callie did! She suggested I try thinking of the story as a battle between these 2 characters. It worked!
I used some of the same elements, but I turned the action into a zigzag (/\/\/\). At the end of one scene Coco’s winning, but Marlee wins the next. The best part of this new dog/girl battle is that I stuck the ending. The most important sentences/paragraphs/pages in any book, is the first, and the last.
Tomorrow – the last manuscript for the challenge, plus 2 more. I started working on them in December. LOL! It’s a good thing I love editing!
4. My Nativity Story had 1 critique, from Rate Your Story (RYS). They gave it a 6 – I wanted a 1, but the comments are more helpful to me than a score.
Their only suggestion – add action. I did. Now I need to find out if it’s enough. How? I’ll send it to Callie’s Writing Magic Critique group and find out. It’s ready to send out, and the dog story is ready for more revision.
The next 2 stories aren’t part of the Agent Audition challenge. They started because I decided to take a class with Callie. I thought I could finish revising my middle grade novel and do the agent audition. Then I came up with a new idea for an early chapter book. Now all I have to do is balance 6 stories?!
5. My Ant Story is 30 chapters long. Last year I finished chapter 26. When I saw this class, I decided to get a running start by going back to Chapter 1 and the revision notes Callie left for each chapter.
I’ll go through those notes, make the corrections, and move forward. I haven’t started yet, but, if I read and revise chapters 1-16 by the end of January I’ll be back on track. Hopefully chapter 30 will be done by the end of February. Fingers crossed!
6. My Zoo Story is a new idea – it’s only a month old! I have the characters, the setting, but no plot – yet! I’m taking my chapter book that’s coming out in March, and moving it to the zoo.
In ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN, Zoe is searching for points for the lake scavenger hunt Mom designed. Can she come up with enough points to beat her older siblings and win the prize?
Zoo Scavenger Hunt Fun already has a problem - Zoe wants to win the hunt. I have the format – 7 chapters with 7 animals. I need to figure out what the three tries will be, how the action will rise/fall, and the animal order. I know that the challenges must grow until that 3rd try/ 6th animal, when Zoe will think winning is impossible.
My plan – to work through Callie’s worksheets. They’ll help me figure out those 3 tries with 7 animals. My goal – to have the story outlined, and the first 3 chapters done by the end of January. Here’s to finding story magic at the zoo!
This post started with an email. Janet Campbell at elderspark.com sent me some great links to help seniors. She also asked if she could write a piece for their families who live far away. I said ABSOLUTELY! I saved Janet’s links for a later post. Here’s the piece Janet asked to write, the piece she wanted me to share.
In the past, someone who wanted to act as a caregiver for a senior relative would have to live close by. For seniors with serious medical conditions who require daily in-home care, that is still the case. But what about seniors with limited mobility who may need frequent doctor’s appointments, yet still manage to cook, clean, socialize, and take medications with little assistance?
If this describes one of your parents or another relative, you may be able to handle basic caregiving duties even if you no longer live in the same area. This guide from teacher, speaker, and author Rinda Beach discusses the devices and technological support systems that will keep you updated on your loved one’s health and well-being no matter how far away you live.
1. Choose the Right Cell Phone Plan
When it comes to phone plans, many carriers provide plans that cover unlimited text, talk, and data. When you’re responsible for checking in on your loved one on a regular basis, you want to know that you can stay connected without racking up any overage charges.
Some seniors are very tech-savvy, but others may need assistance to choose the right cell phone and plan. You may want to spend an afternoon with your loved one and go shopping together to help them make an informed decision.
2. Alert Systems
When it comes to location and medical alert systems for seniors, you have several options. Your loved one may feel safest with a wearable device that sends out an alert in the event of a medical emergency, like falling. You should ensure that any wearable device you purchase has GPS - if your loved one gets lost, this function is invaluable.
Installing remote monitoring sensors in your loved one’s home can help you keep track of their daily routines and habits. According to Seniors Matter, these sensors should be placed in strategic locations around the house - for example, placing one on the refrigerator door can let you know if your loved one is eating at normal times. No matter which monitoring system you choose, you can rest assured that you will be notified if your loved one needs your help.
3. Install Security Cameras
If you would feel more comfortable seeing your loved one during the day, placing a few security cameras in different locations around the house could be an option. You will have the ability to live stream the video footage on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet.
While many seniors and their caregivers find that having security cameras around the house allows for peace of mind, your loved one may not be open to the idea of being recorded. Make sure to have an honest conversation with them about the pros and cons, and do not install any cameras without their permission.
4. Financial Monitoring
Unfortunately, seniors are often targeted by online scammers who are hoping to make a quick buck. Kiplinger suggests helping your loved one protect their savings from scams and personally checking their accounts for any suspicious activity with a financial monitoring system.
These services will generally charge a monthly fee to scan an individual’s accounts and credit reports and catch any charges that seem abnormal compared to their usual spending habits. If you are alerted about any strange purchases, and it turns out that your loved one was not responsible for the charges, you can contact the bank and credit card companies immediately to remedy the situation.
Taking on the role of caregiver can present all kinds of challenges. But modern technology is making it easier for people to ensure the safety and security of their parents and relatives as they enter their golden years, even with hundreds or even thousands of miles between them.
Christmas is coming. For kids that means a week or two of vacation. I picked out 3 simple projects for families who’re looking for something fun to create.
Project #1. A Christmas Gnome: I took 8 screenshots for the 4 steps in this project. Instructables has many more, that show more specific instructions.
Link: Christmas Gnomes : 4 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables
Materials: Faux fur
Scrap fabric for hat Socks, pick the size your gnome should be
Wooden Bead Beans or rice to fill the sock.
Hot glue Rubber bands or hair ties
Optional – Jingle bell and stickers to decorate the hat. You could also use a favorite Christmas pin, the jewelry kind.
Make the body. Fill your sock with rice or beans.
Tie it off with a rubber band or hair tie.
Make the beard by cutting a half-moon shape out of faux fur. Cut it to fit your sock,
leaving an inch of room at the top and extra fur at the bottom.
Fit your beard so that you like how it looks. Then use hot glue to hold it in place.
Pick a wooden bead for the nose. Separate the beard. Then glue on the bead for the nose.
Make the hat by fitting the fabric to your gnome’s head. Make sure you overlap the cloth
by at least half an inch. Cut away the extra fabric. In this version they used a cone.
Hot glue the fabric to make the hat. Then glue it onto your gnome’s head.
Optional – Accessorize your gnome. This one used a jingle bell and a sticker.
You could use a pom-pom, a small Christmas pin, or whatever you’d like.
Project #2. A Gingerbread House for a Cat:
I took 14 screenshots for the `12 steps in this project. Instructables has more pictures, that show more specific instructions. This house is adorable, but it’s also tricky to make. I’ll show you the basic steps. Click on the link if you want to try this project.
Also, if you don’t have a cat, this would make a great doll house or any other kind of structure. Just change the the decorations or the building design to make it fit you.
Link: Cardboard Gingerbread Cat House : 12 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables
Hot glue gun & sticks Scissors
1 large cardboard box Craft knif (x-acto)
1 medium box Paintbrushes
1 small box/extra cardboard
1 cat scratcher bed (or another box)
White acrylic paint
Build the base of the house. That’s your biggest box.
Make the second story. That’s the cat scratcher bed, or another box
Add in the roof and the gables.
Instructables has this as #4, but I’m giving you bare bones
to help you decide if you want to try this project.
Cut out the Gable Roof, and glue it into place.
Finish off the gables so it looks more like a real house.
Cut out the windows and the doors. Then glue the gable into place.
Add in reinforcements. Look for places that look droopy, or hold a lot
of weight. Draw, cut out, and glue the reinforcements in place.
The Instructable designer used 8-10 of them, and this is her 3rd
house this fall. Reinforcements are a good thing!
Add the sides – just 2 simple triangles! You might want to add in a few
more reinforcers. Can you ever have too many? Really!
Draw, cut out, and glue the chimney together, but DON’T glue
it onto the roof. You’ll want to paint everything first!
Paint! I would sketch these out first because I’m terrible at painting.
The designer suggested painting around the windows. Add in dots and hearts,
snowflakes and swirly lines, whatever you’d like to decorate your gingerbread house.
Paint the shingles on the roof and bricks on the chimney. Then glue the chimney onto the roof.
Add in the snow – with a glue gun! If it’s white, you’re done!
If not, get out your paintbrush, and paint it white.
Optional – make a welcome mat. It should be as wide as your door.
Enjoy! Your cat will! I didn’t know that cat’s love cardboard! The author of this Instructable has three, in different sizes, and they all love their gingerbread house! Merry Christmas!
From the Cat Gingerbread House Designer
Project #3. A Simple Up-Cycled Paper Christmas Tree: This is the easiest project I picked. I took 5 screenshots for 5 steps. This one is easy-peasy! You could make it with my directions, but I included the link, just in case.
Want to create a similar project? Look for a simple design, maybe from a cookie cutter. Remember – only use half the shape to make it 3D.
Link: Simple Up-cycled Paper Christmas Tree🌲 : 5 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables
Newspaper fliers – You’ll need at least 40 pages to make your
tree strong enough. This one has 110 flier pages.
Scissors or craft knife (Note – the knife will give you nicer edges.)
Glue sticks are great. Go easy on the glue if yours is liquid.
Decide how big your tree will be. It should be as tall as your shortest flier, and as wide as your narrowest one. Trace your tree on the booklet. This one’s traced in white.
Notes – The straight edge of your tree must be on the fold. Allow at least 5mm between the tree and the star. Need a template? Click on the Instructable link.
Cut out your first tree. Use it as a pattern for the rest of them.
Glue two booklets together. Use the glue stick on the bottom tree.
Lay the new booklet on top. Wipe off any extra glue.
When all the booklets are glued together, open up the tree so you
can see the first and the last page. Glue them together.
When the glue’s dry, set up your tree by
spreading out the pages.
Which famous scientist said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge?”
Albert Einstein Alexander Graham Bell
Nicola Tesla Thomas Alva Edison
And the answer is . . . Albert Edison!
Can you find him? Look under the photos. You’ll see each scientist’s most famous achievement.
Albert Einstein Alexander Graham Bell Nicola Tesla Thomas Alva Edison
The equation E=MC2 The telephone The Tesla coil The light bulb
Part 2 – Albert and I – What do we think about imagination?
My source from QuizClub cited a newspaper correspondent who interviewed Albert Einstein about how he thought. I thought he’d speak about reason, and logic, and calculations. He said, “I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am . . . I would have been surprised if I had been wrong.
Occasionally I’ve had those feelings, those intuitions, that I’m on the right path. It’s just a feeling. Sometimes the intuitions are right, but not always.
He also said, “I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
When I was younger, I believed in the power of knowledge, maybe it was the teacher in me. But becoming a writer helped me discover that I do have an imagination. I always did. I just didn’t know that it was there. Maybe because it was easier to depend on knowledge and logic.
According to QuizClub, Einstein believed that imagination played a bigger role than knowledge. If you wanted to be creative you had to have imagination. He also believed to learn, it had to be based on experiences.
Matching learning to experiences is HUGE in teaching. It’s easier for kids to learn something new, if they can connect it to something old. When I was younger, I didn’t believe that I was creative, or that I had a great imagination, except in books. When I was reading, I could imagine myself right there, living/experiencing the story.
The article also said that he wanted people to be more imaginative in developing and using ideas. Those ideas came the knowledge stored away in their head. Albert didn’t believe in accepting the status quo. He thought people should challenge, question, and push their knowledge to reach greater achievements.
I never thought of it this way, but I suppose that’s what I’ve always done, especially since I started writing. My ideas always start with an experience, whether it’s a story about a bat, or a safety drill. I look at the event/problem. As a teacher I taught problems/solutions. The hard part for me, working out the middle. That’s when I let my imagination roam. I never find the plot path right away. It takes editing and revising, over and over again before I can drive my story to that happy ending. Sometimes the ending even changes, and always for the better.
Part 3 – Finer Minds Think Imagination is More Important than Knowledge
1. Imagination Creates Knowledge
Finer Minds said that your experiences today come from yesterday’s thoughts.
I wanted to know more about imagination and knowledge so I searched the internet.
If you want to play soccer, you join a team and learn to play. It all starts with an idea, from your imagination.
2. Imagination Makes Life Interesting
Can you imagine life without movies, music or books? Finer Minds think it’d be dull. Me too!
I typed interesting into Pixabay, and this appeared. It’s Prague, Czech Republic.
What a gorgeous city!If you’re bored, you don’t sit and wait. You find something fun to do.
3. Imagination Births Innovation
Finer Minds said that inventions like cars, airplanes, and computers came from someone’s imagination.
I use Tile. I’m glad it came from someone’s imagination. It helps me find my phone when it’s lost.
How about you? When you have a problem, do you find a solution? I do! Necessity is the mother of invention!
4. Imagination Takes Us Places
Stuck at home? Finer Minds says things like books and movies can take you anywhere.
My favorite thing about them – I can do the impossible and visit the past. Dinosaurs and Wooly Mammoths, oh my!
Where would you like to go? Who would you like to meet? Find a book or movie, and off you go!
5. Imagination Gives Hope
Finer Minds says that imagination gives us hope. When things go wrong, reach for your ideas.
I had trouble writing part 3 of this post. I thought about what I really wanted to say, and the words finally came.
Some problems need more time than others. Some have to be talked about. Reach for solutions, and you’ll find them.
What is it?
If you’re mindful, what does that mean? You’re present, not just in the room. You know what’s going on around you, inside you. No multitasking allowed!
Being mindful means listening to what your head and your body say. You’re aware of your surroundings, the world around you. The most important part is recognizing your feelings. Don’t judge them. Just let them be.
Source: Mindfulness: How It Helps Your Health (webmd.com)
I found five exercises that will help you find your way to mindfulness. Here are my sources:
1. 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!) (positivepsychology.com) I selected four, and they all sited Karen Young. These activities take longer, but can be modified to fit your classroom practice.
2. Karen Young. (2017). Mindfulness for children: Fun, effective ways to strengthen mind, body, spirit. Retrieved from www.heysigmund.com
3. 5 Minute Classroom Mindfulness Activities for Kids (teachstarter.com) These are shortened versions of the selected activities.
Five Mindful Excercises
1. Mindful Posing – Try striking a pose. This one might help your kids feel strong, brave, or happy. Test drive a few rounds of these. I bet your class will love them. If they do, I bet they can come up with a few new ideas for poses of their own! Source #1,2
- This illustration looks like a Superman pose, but it’s actually Wonder Woman. Stand tall, feet apart, with your hands or fists on your hips.
- To make the real Superman, stand tall. Have your arms reach for the sky, like you’re ready to take flight.
2. Spidey Senses – Kids will need their inner Spiderman for this one. They’ll need their senses to tell them about the world around them. Have them pause and focus on what their senses tell them. What can they smell, see, hear, taste, or touch? Source #1,2,3
This is a great way to encourage observation, curiosity, and living in the present!
3. Mindful Jar – Another name is Glitter Bottle. The first thing to do is to make one. Here’s how . . .
Fill a clear jar or bottle with water. Add glitter glue (glue & dry glitter). Put on the lid. Source #1,2,3
Part 1 – Shake up the glitter. Which emotions swirl like it? (example – anger) Connect those emotions to how they affect thoughts and decisions.
Part 2 – Now watch the glitter settle. Which emotions feel like this (calming)? Connect these emotions to how they affect thoughts and decisions. Discuss how you can calm your mind (example – take deep breaths).
4. Mindful Walk or Safari – Take a walk, inside or out. Long or short. Keep your mind on the present. Use your five senses to find living/nonliving things in the environment. Source #1,2,3
5. Gratitude – Give students time to think of things they’re grateful for. You can share them out loud. Write them down on paper. You can keep them in a journal or on a bulletin board. If you need suggestions, click on the link for Source: 3
On Thursday I shared my new cover for ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT. Guess what?
It changed – the next day!
Part 1 -Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun – A Cover Story
This was Thursday’s cover. I loved it! I still do. Blue’s my favorite color, and I thought it was perfect!
I met with Brooke Friday at noon. That night she sent me an email. It said she was having some doubts about our cover, that she felt like this was Zoe’s story, and that she should be the focus of the cover.
After I read that, I looked at the new covers. My heart still wanted this one, but my head said no.
Here’s a screenshot of the new options. They’re green, and that’s not one of my favorite colors.
I had a writing class later that day so I asked my teacher what she thought. She loved the original, but she said the main character is more important, especially if they’re the same age as your audience.
Zoe is. She’s going into 3rd grade, and her book is written for grades 2-4. I tossed out my favorite cover and I picked one of these. When a book comes out, it’s not for me. It’s for the readers.
It was easy to get rid of #1. The blue and green don’t match. I like #2 and 3, but I couldn’t pick. I went back and forth between the light and dark green.
I emailed Brooke and told her what I thought. Scroll down, and you’ll see Brooke’s final choice. I think it works for our book, and its readers.
This is it! #3! Brooke went with the lighter green and it looks great!
Part 2 – Peek Inside ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN
Here’s a screenshot of Chapter 2, pages 8-12. It’s a tiny peek inside my new book.
Brooke and I met online about the interior. She told me that we are already 5 hours over budget on the designer. Uh-oh!
I had 3 pages of notes, and Brooke still went through them with me. We discussed what made sense to work on, and what to let go of.
The map was something we decided to change. The one in the picture doesn’t match my words. By the time we finished talking, we put it inside a tablet. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
The other thing we changed was that little icon. I asked if we could switch it out. Now there will be a compass rose instead.
Another thing I was worried about was that pages with the icons on the left were too crowded. Brooke said she’d check the gutter lines to make sure there’s room.
Brooke added our comments/changes right into the interior PDF. She’ll send it to the designer who’ll make the changes.
When I self-published NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM, I did all the work. I didn’t have anyone to consult, except my writing friends, and I made all the changes myself.
THIS – is so much better! It’s fun being part of a team, and doing one part of the job.
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!