I’ve read this one a couple times, but I couldn’t find purchase date. So far I’ve reread about William the Conqueror who built the Tower, the theories about the lost princes, and Jane Grey. Now I’m into Bloody Mary. She pardoned Jane, and then reneged, so she could marry a Spanish prince.
One passage struck me – it never has before. In Mary’s England she waged war against the Protestants, and they fought back. Over 30,000 people died because of her fanatical beliefs. It reminds me of what’s going on in the US. Right now 1 side is fighting – they call it peaceful protest. The other side, my side, is looking for ways to peacefully fight back. The more the world changes, the more it stays the same.
I hope you check out this book . . . It’s an easy read, but it lets you feel like you’re there, experiencing history, safely from inside a book.
The brooding grey walls of the Tower of London circumscribe one of the most recognizable buildings on the planet. Over its thousand-year history the Tower stood as a symbol of the English monarchy and served as both a palace and a prison. It is a place where court intrigues, clandestine liaisons, unimaginable tortures and grisly executions took place with frightening regularity. Tales from the Tower is the factual history of the great building itself told through the true stories of the people, royal and common, good and bad, heroes and villains, who lived and died there. Including characters such as William the Conqueror, the Princes in the Tower, Jane Grey, Guy Fawkes, Colonel Blood and Rudolf Hess, the broad range of stories encompassed in Tales from the Tower present a microcosm of all human experience, from love and death to greed and betrayal, all played out against romantic period settings ranging from medieval knights in shining armor to the darkest days of World War II.. Anyone who loves history and adventure will find Tales from the Tower a classic page turner.
Started 4/4/21 Finished 4/11/21
I just finished THE VIRGIN QUEEN’S DAUGHTER, again. I bought it back in 2012. I liked the author, Ella March Chase, so I bought this book back then too. I’ve always been curious about the queen who ruled for 9 days. Her name – Lady Jane Grey. This is her story, It’s also the story of her two younger sisters.
Their father gambled on them. He used them to secure the English crown. Being rich and powerful does not guarantee happiness. The powerful will do what they need to hold onto it. They did in 1553, and they still do today.
Sixteen-year-old Jane Grey—the “Nine-Day Queen”—is a quiet and obedient young lady destined to become the shortest reigning English monarch. Her beautiful middle sister, Lady Katherine Grey charms all the right people, until a scandalous love affair causes loyalties to shift. And finally, Lady Mary Grey is a dwarf with a twisted spine whose goal is simply to protect the people she loves—but at a terrible cost.
In an age in which begetting sons was all that mattered and queens rose and fell on the sex of their child, these three girls with royal Tudor blood lived under the dangerous whims of parents with a passion for gambling. The stakes they would wager: their daughters' lives against rampant ambition.
The 1st try
I started my journey on January 13th by emailing my web guru, Lisa, to ask for a PayPal button. I had no idea what I was getting into. The emails bounced back and forth between us for the next couple days while I tried to find the code she needed. Here’s a sample from the first couple
lines. It looks like Greek to me!
<div id="smart-button-container"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div id="paypal-button-container"></div>
I struggle with technology so my editor, Brooke, made a quick video. I followed it step by step, and I got a new code. Lisa added it to my website on January 16th. I thought it worked. So did Lisa.
MISTAKE #1 – We didn’t test-buy a book to see if the button worked. OOPS! I should have done that on the 16th or 17th. That’s the problem with something new – you don’t know what you don’t know!
In March Brooke asked about my presales. I didn’t have any. The problem – I didn’t know I was supposed to post the link to my PayPal button on social media. People can’t buy something they don’t know about. Duh!
When I started my launch countdown, I added my buy link to the post. That was March 1st, and that’s when I found my first problem. My daughter messaged me that she couldn’t buy my book. I checked it out!
My whole website was down! I couldn’t even get in – at all! That’s never happened before, and my site has been live since 2016. The only change – my buy link. By the time I went to bed, I was back online, back in business. At least I thought so.
The 2nd Try
The PayPal button came up again on March 8th, the night before Zoe’s debut. That’s the night I posted the #1 thing to do at the lake – read ZOE!
My daughter was still trying to buy it from me. She emailed, and that’s when I discovered the real problem – the copy code wasn’t working. Remember this . . .
<div id="smart-button-container"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div id="paypal-button-container"></div>
That’s the copy code, and it never, ever worked. I emailed Lisa that night. She looked at the button and asked for a new copy code. I generated it at 1AM that night, before going to bed.
By the next morning, Lisa pasted it in, and it still didn’t work. I generated one last code before my virtual launch at 1PM. By the time I finished it an hour later, Lisa had tried again, and again it failed.
I was done! I tried 2-3 times within that 24-hour period, and I hit a wall again and again. I called PayPal for help. I knew that I couldn’t do this on my own, and that every time I asked Lisa to input a new code, I was paying for her frustration, and failure.
I called PayPal Support and got Neysa. She was wonderful. She walked me through getting that darn button. By the end of our session, I thought I was good to go. Neysa even sent me 2 notes, one about the button. The other about API Credentials. (I still have no idea what they are, except that it’s a number unique to me, and that if someone gets that number, they can hack into my account.)
I emailed the new number to Lisa that night. Guess what – It didn’t work! I don’t know why. Lisa is great at tech issues. Everything you see on my website is due to the foundation she set up. I copied and sent Neysa’s note to Lisa. Nothing changed.
I tried to work with the API Credentials, even though I didn’t know what I was doing. Lisa and I tried two different ways to use them. We failed both times.
At 10PM on launch day I gave up and filed a case with Technical Support. After 24 hours in crisis mode, I turned it over to the tech team. It was the BEST decision I made all day.
Lesson #1 – Know when to give up. I had tried everything Brooke, Lisa, Paypal, and Neysa suggested. I wasn’t making any progress. I kept making the same mistake, over and over again. I’m so GLAD I quit!
The Third and Final Try
I got my first email from Tech Support on March 10th. Adithya wanted me to generate another button, but I said NO! I sent him the one Neysa and I created. I hoped Adithya would find the error and help me fix it.
He DID say there was an important client ID missing from the button code on the 11th. He didn’t think I generated the code with PayPal, and he asked me to try again. I did, but it felt like I was repeating the same old directions. When you do that, you get the same old results.
I heard back on the 15th and 16th. Adithya sent directions both days, but I couldn’t understand them. I felt like someone threw me in the deep end of the pool, and I didn’t know how to swim. If someone has ever given you a project that’s above and beyond your skills, you know how I felt.
Here’s one of his answers. I looked at my code for 30 minutes, trying to find what he wanted me to find, and change. I couldn’t.
Thank you for your reply, Client ID is the Identifier that uniquely identifies your button and helps in routing all the payments to your PayPal account.
<script src="https://www.paypal.com/sdk/js?client-id=sb¤cy=USD" data-sdk-integration-source="button-factory"></script>
As of now it is assigned to generic test account "sb" and adding this button code onto your website will route all the payment to a test account and no real payment can be made.
So as your generated button code is missing on client ID, I would recommend you follow the steps given in the below link to get the client ID from your PayPal account.
Lesson #2 – When something’s not working – change strategies! The emails didn’t work. I couldn’t see or understand what Adithya was asking me to do so I asked for a conference call. I thought if we zoomed, he could guide me into doing what he asked.
PS – this section was SUPER hard to write. I thought I’d finish the post tonight, but I couldn’t. This was as far as I could write. The more words I used, the more tangled my thoughts became. I hope I let you feel a little of my frustration . . . without the knots.
A Happy Ending – A Conference Call to the Other Side of the Earth
When I couldn’t make heads or tails of the code, I asked for a conference call. That was March 16th. By the 17th Adithya said he could meet anytime from 9AM – 9PM IST. I had to look up IST – India Standard Time. Then I found a conversion chart for EST – Eastern Standard Time in the US. I don’t even want to think how many time zones are between India and the US.
Can you find the US and India on this World Map?
There were two sets of times that worked. First, 9-10:30AM in India. That’s almost midnight in Ohio! The second, 8-9PM in India. That’s when I wake up, about 10:30 in the morning in Ohio. I’m not a morning person so I asked for the first time.
Adithya immediately set up a time to meet the next morning. Unfortunately, I read his email after I had breakfast, when Adithya was done for the day. We finally got a call set up for after midnight on the 19th. Within 30 minutes I had my code. You’d think it would have been easy. He could see my computer screen as we talked, but it was still tricky.
The tough parts – 1. We both thought our PayPal computer screens looked the same. I knew computer keyboards look different. The keys are in different places, but I thought the screens would be the same, just in different languages. No wonder I couldn’t follow directions from Adithya’s emails. The commands weren’t in the same places.
2. There was also a language difference. Thank goodness Adithya spoke English, but he spoke with an Indian accent, which was hard occasionally for me to understand. Sometimes my American English was hard for him.
It sounds funny to have trouble communicating in the same language, but it happens. I was in England, and the hotel guide sent my husband and I to ‘Mer Mickey.’ We couldn’t find it on the map, but we did find ‘Mermaid Quay.’ Our hotel guide didn’t get the joke – but my husband and I did. FYI – the faster you speak, the harder it is to be understood in international situations. SLOW DOWN!
During the conversation, Adithya had me generate that code again. This time he asked me to paste it onto an email and send it to him. Then he did his magic (he put the right code in the right place – I still couldn’t do it.) He sent the corrected code back to me. I was almost done!
When I got up on the 19th, I sent the code to my developer, Lisa (I thought she was my tech person, but her real title is web developer. Live – And Learn!). Lisa put it up, and at 6:41PM on the 19th, I thought the journey was over.
NOT! Brooke, my publisher went in on the 22nd, and found it didn’t work again. URGH! I sent out 12 emails from 4 - 6PM. Sometime during that period Brooke sent me a Capture image (it looked like Greek to me, again), but I sent it off to Lisa. She worked on it, but we needed someone to test-drive the button. Brooke did, and I was finally in business. I closed the case on PayPal, and my daughter finally bought her book. Life is good!
Janet Campbell from Elderspark.com reached out to write another post. I said sure. Here’s what she wrote . . .
When it comes to types of retirement, there are few that offer as much self-sufficiency and personal satisfaction as homesteading. This is a style of retirement built around hard work, cost-saving, and the pride of a day well spent. However, it’s not for everyone. Here’s a quick look at some of the pros and cons of homesteading, as well as some tips that I’m happy to share with Teacher, Speaker, and Author Rinda Beach. I hope they help you find your perfect place.
Part 1 - What Is Homesteading?
“Homesteading” is a broad term, but in general, it’s a lifestyle in which people try to live more sustainably by “living off the land,” so to speak. Homesteaders may grow their own fruits or vegetables, raise meat, grow crops to make fabric for clothing, or a combination of these practices. In addition to benefiting from their own hard work, many also sell their homegrown fare in their local community via farmers markets or mom-and-pop shops.
People of all ages can homestead. Seniors can certainly pursue this lifestyle post-retirement, but as we discuss below, those with physical disabilities or mobility issues are wise to be selective about homesteading hobbies that accommodate their needs. For example, rather than growing potatoes in the ground (which are heavy and require a lot of physical labor to tend to), planting lightweight lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes in raised containers might be a better option for older adults.
Part 2 - Benefits of Homesteading
There are a ton of wonderful pros to homesteading for retirees. The first is that, when you’re homesteading, you can make a fixed income stretch a lot further. The food you produce on your land substantially cuts down your grocery bill, meaning you have more money to go toward other costs.
Moreover, if you really get a knack for it, you can look into selling goods you’ve grown or made. If you go this route, however, be sure to check out whether or not you need to register as an LLC. This designation offers some legal protections that make good sense for anyone running a business out of their home. Turning your homestead into an income source can put you in an even better financial position.
Another great benefit of homesteading is that it’s a very physically active form of retirement. It’s easy to grow sedentary when you’re done working, but it’s terrible for your body and your mind. Staying active keeps you strong and sharp, helping you stay healthier for longer. Since homesteading is, by its very nature, a physically demanding lifestyle, you’ll be certain to get plenty of healthy exercise and fresh air.
Part 3 – Cons of Homesteading
Despite its myriad benefits, homesteading still isn’t for everyone. Take the physical activity element mentioned above. Although it’s great to have the opportunity to stay physically active, it can be unsustainable. If you already have mobility loss, for example, a homesteading situation can be impossible to maintain. Now, you can often mitigate this by planning a smaller garden or limiting your planned production, but it’s important to recognize the physical commitment from the start.
It’s also a big commitment and can preclude some other retirement aspirations. It’s difficult to travel while homesteading since you must find someone to care for your crops (and animals, if you have them) while you’re away. Many hobbies are also difficult to juggle along with the demanding schedule homesteading often requires. This isn’t to say homesteading will occupy all of your time, but recognizing the demands before you get started can help you figure out if it’s a good fit.
Part 4 – Finding a Homesteading Property
When it comes to finding your perfect property, keep an open mind. Many people assume homesteading can only happen in rural areas, but it’s far from the truth. There’s a ton of technology out there that makes homesteading accessible for people in suburban and even urban areas. That said, you should always check zoning laws before you commit to make sure the features you’d like to have are allowed at that address.
You should also take time to think about your overall ideal lifestyle and the kind of spaces you’ll need to achieve it. For example, if you think you’d like to make (and perhaps, sell) your own jam, you’ll want a spacious kitchen with plenty of room for canning, as well as a pantry you can use to store your products. Consider any workshops, guest rooms, and other features you’d need and like to have to be able to achieve the homestead retirement that’s right for you.
Though it’s not for everyone, homesteading is a wonderful form of retirement. Do the research to figure out if it’s right for you and, if so, invest in the perfect property to achieve the golden years you’re dreaming of.
Started 3/28/21 Finished 4/3/21
I stopped and started 2 books before I picked this one. Now I’m on chapter 15! I bought it back in 2012, and I’ve read it multiple times because it asks – What if Elizabeth I had a baby with Thomas Seymour, the husband of her stepmother Catherine Parr? It sounds like a soap opera, but there was speculation about it then. Those possibilities are woven into this story. The best part is the relationship threaded between mother and daughter.
Tucked away in the country estate of her beloved father, Lord Calverley, young Nell de Lacey feeds her hungry mind with philosophy, language, and studies of science. Her mother, once a devoted lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr, would rather her daughter stop dabbling in the grand affairs of men and instead prepare for her eventual duties as a wife. She knows all too well what menace lurks in royal courts.
But Nell’s heart yearns for something more, and a chance meeting with Princess Elizabeth, then a prisoner of the Tower of London, pushes her closer toward finding it. Now, years later, Nell’s chance arrives when she is summoned to serve as a lady-in-waiting to the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth. Nell is entranced by the splendor and pageantry of royal life, unaware of the danger and deception that swirls around the monarch and her courtiers.
But a lingering rumor about nine unaccounted for months in the Virgin Queen’s past reignites when the flame-haired Nell—a mirror image of Her Majesty both physically and intellectually—arrives at court. Quickly she catches the eye not only of the cunning Elizabeth, but of those who would see the queen fail. With strong evidence to connect Elizabeth to her newest maid of honor and the politics of England in turmoil, the truth could send Nell and those she loves to the Tower to join in the wretched fates of those who’ve gone before her.
Started 3/3/21 Finished 3/27/21
I met the first book, MAID OF SECRETS, at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators conference back in 2014 (SCBWI). I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth the 1st so I looked it up as soon as possible. I read the first one and loved the mix between facts I knew about Elizabeth and the fiction that strung this plot together. SECRETS focused on one of Spain’s attempts to control Elizabeth and England at the beginning of her reign. I liked it so much I bought the other two books, but unfortunately that’s where the series stopped.
I’m on Chapter 28 now of the 2nd book, MAID OF DECEPTION. The best part about historical fiction is that it gives you the chance to time travel and meet characters you’ll never meet in person. As a reader I can become part of the story. This time I’m following Elizabeth and the Lords of the Congregation. They’re working to break free of French Catholic rule under Marie de Guise, mother of Mary, Queen of Scotts. It’s something the Protestant Elizabeth would have supported and funded, secretly.
I just finished MAID OF WONDER. This one focuses on Sophia Dee and her ability to see into the future. There’s a plot afoot to assassinate Elizabeth. Sophie must decode her visions in time to unravel the plot and stop it. I was disappointed that the series stopped here, leaving two maids with untold stories.
Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.
Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth.
Meg’s mission tests every talent she possesses, even her loyalty to her fellow Maids. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth’s secret protectors, who has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her uncanny ability to manipulate hearts. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen sets Beatrice up for failure by pairing her with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.
Sophia Dee, the most unusual spy of Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honor, has run out of time for her psychic skills to fully manifest. A terrible new prophecy haunts Windsor Castle, and the Queen demands answers before the next doomed soul dies.
Thrust into a dangerous and horrifying competition to solve the deadly prediction, Sophia finds herself pitted against the most celebrated mystics of Europe: John Dee, her devious uncle and the Queen's personal astrologer, and Nostradamus, the renowned prophet-seer of France.
In a court where whispers of witchcraft, poisonous plots, and grim assassins threaten her at every turn, Sophia needs answers fast. But does she dare trust Marcus Quinn, her uncle's striking and overambitious assistant? Or, instead, should she turn to the tortured dark angel of the spirit realm, who whispers to her only of sorrow and death?
As new dangers surface and the dire prophecy sweeps toward its final victim, the five Maids of Honor prepare to do battle. Only then will the girl who so often sees the future finally discover if she can save the Crown--and herself.
Here are the events, interviews and podcasts that launched Zoe. I like to keep them together in one post. It makes it easier to go back and find interviews and photographs. It all started back in February of 2021.
1. A Video Interview and a Book Reading – This was my first event, from February 2nd. Kala Williams from The Author’s Voice interviewed me. The best part – teachers across the pond in the UK could listen in, to my writing journey, and to a page from my book. It was fantastic!
You can still listen in. Here’s the link for my book talk:
Read Aloud & Book Talk with Rinda Beach - YouTube
Want to skip the interview and go straight to the Read Aloud? Here’s the illustration for the page I picked. Now take a Cheeky Jump, like the kids and teachers in the UK do:
Read Aloud & Book Talk with Rinda Beach - YouTube
2. A Presale & Author Event – Zoe and I went to one of our favorite places – Riverside Art Center. It was February 12th, Galentine’s Day.
Melissa welcomed us in and took a couple pictures so we could remember our day. If you look at the 1st picture, at the top right corner, really carefully, you’ll see my copy of Zoe. Back in February, it was the only copy.
3. An Online Interview with Angelika On the Move – Read this interview to learn a variety of things about me as a writer. It went live on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, but it’s still available online.
BTW – My answers to Questions 5 and 11 have changed since I did the interview. Back in the fall I thought I’d be publishing 3 books by the end of 2021. Everything changed when I stopped to polish 4 manuscripts for an agent who’s interested in my work. Here’s Angelika’s link:
4. An Online Interview with Helen H. Wu – Check out this interview and its illustrations. I shared the details that got ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN ready for readers like you. It went live on February 24th, but you can still open it with this link: Interview with #Kidlit Author, Rinda Beach - Helen H. Wu
5. An Online Interview with June McCrary Jacobs – Check out this interview and a couple illustrations. One of them is Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt – the real one – from the book! I know! FREE! You don’t have to buy the book, BUT, you can use my ideas as is, OR as an inspiration to design your own hunt.
Read the interview and you’ll find out 10 behind-the-scene facts about Zoe’s road to publication. The interview went live March 7th, two days before our book birthday.
Sorry! I already gave away the free book, but you can still read the interview at this link:
Author June McCrary Jacobs: ~ MMGM BOOK BLAST ZOE'S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN ~
6. My Virtual Lauch! – Did you miss it? No problem! Here’s the recording! I don’t know how to do this, but I’m glad Brooke does! She’s on the left. She was my publisher, editor, marketing advisor, and friend. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with her and with BiblioKid Publishing.
Would you like to listen in? Brooke asked a couple of questions about publishing and writing. Then I got to do my favorite part – read to you, my audience. Click this link and you can hear the whole first chapter, FREE! Link: Facebook
Did you like what you heard? Order a book from me. The cost includes shipping, BUT you’ll get an autographed book. I’ll email you so I can personalize it to your family.
Teachers, buy a book, and I’ll do a zoom call with you and your class. I’ll read a chapter AND answer a few questions. Interested? Click my buy link Zoe's Scavenger Hunt Fun - Rinda Beach. You can also contact me, and I’d be glad to work with you to set this up.
Link: Rinda Beach - Contact Me - Rinda Beach
7. Zoe’s In-Person Launch – Zoe and I celebrated at Riverside Art Center. They welcomed us in, introduced us to lots of new people. I pasted in some photos for you. This is my favorite – I signed a book for a lake-loving family! If you find yourself in Wapak, stop into Riverside. They sell my books, and lots of other great things too!
8. A Podcast With Connie B. Dow – If you missed the podcast on St. Patrick’s Day when it went live, I have the link below, and it still works! This was my 3rd interview with Connie, and we chatted about my third book and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. If you’re curious about publishing, or you’ve thought about writing, click on Connie’s links. I hope I can help you!
9. The Books on rindabeach.com
Take a tour of my newest book, ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN. Click on books, and you’ll get a drop-down menu. Pick ZOE, and I’ll show you the changes. First up, my new cover, with its 5 Star Emblem from Reader’s Favorite.
To the right of the book, I have the description, and REVIEWERS SAY. Below it is a small part of the Readers’ Favorite Review. The full review is too long to post (about 300 words). I got ZOE’s review in 11 days. Neil’s took almost 3 months, and I gave up on one for LAKE FUN.
Two fun facts – 1. Emily-Jane Hills Orford reviewed both books. I didn’t notice it until I saw the reviews on my web site. 2. I got a surprise review on LAKE FUN a month after I got Zoe’s, 9 months after I submitted it.
Below the review is a yellow PayPal button. Order your book here, and PayPal will notify me. Then I’ll email and ask how I can personalize it for you.
Are you a teacher? Buy a book to share with your class, and I’ll schedule a Zoom call, free of charge. I’ll read a chapter to your class and answer their questions about being an author. Once I’ve received your order, I’ll email and find a time that works for you. You can also contact me if you’re interested in one of my other books.
You’ll find downloadable activities at the bottom of ZOE'S page. a bookmark and a journal page. Note - This screenshot helped me find an error. I emailed Lisa, and she should have the page fixed tomorrow.
My bookmark has a small scavenger hunt on the back. The journal page is straight out of my book, and they’re both free for you to download and enjoy.
I debated for a month if I wanted to do this post. I pick the books I want to read for My Reads based on topic, not by when I read them. I started keeping a reading journal when I got serious about becoming a writer.
I started my website in 2016. My 1st My Reads review was FANDANGO STEW. It was the 91st picture book I put in my reading journal. Now I’m up to 314 picture books. My second review was THE EXTINCTS, the 48th chapter/middle grade book I read. I just finished my 118th book. I’ve read 432 books altogether. That’s a lot of reading!
This post won’t tell you what I’ve read in the past. It will only show you what I’m reading now. I’m sharing these books as screenshots from my local library. I only read new books. It’s how I stay current with what publishers are looking for. So, no reviews or opinions. Just screenshots. Here’s my first set of library books for 2021.
1. Dusk Explorers
2. Do Not Eat the Game
3. Telling Time
4. Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog
5. Attack of the Underwear Dragon
6. The List of Things that Will Not Change
7. History Smashers: Women's Right to Vote
History Smashers: Women's Right to Vote: Messner, Kate, Meconis, Dylan: 9780593120347: Amazon.com: Books
8. Iggy Peck and the Mysterious Mansion (The Questioneers)
Amazon.com: Iggy Peck and the Mysterious Mansion (The Questioneers) (9781419736926): Beaty, Andrea, Roberts, David: Books
9. Just a Story
10. My Brother the Duck
My Brother the Duck: (New Baby Book for Siblings, Big Sister Little Brother Book for Toddlers): Miller, Pat Zietlow: 9781452142838: Amazon.com: Books
11. Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away
12. In a Garden
My Top 10 List of Ways . . . How to Have Fun at the Lake:
#10 – Make Your Own Scavenger Hunt. Or, use Zoe’s!
Then get out and have fun exploring the lake.
#9 – Go Fishing! Early morning or late at night!
On the shore or in a boat! Here’s to the catch of the day!
#8 – Cannonball, anyone? Go traditional, with a BIG splash!
Be creative – leap like a dog and land on all fours!
Or, be graceful, with ballerina-style.
But most of all – have fun!
#7 – Go kayaking! Get out in a boat, and paddle the lake.
Go early in the morning or late in the day.
That’s when the big boats return to the dock,
and the waves shrink back to kayak-size!
#6 – Meet the Local Wildlife – LEAPING LIZARDS!
I’ve met deer, a snake skin (minus the snake), a skink (lizard),
frogs, turtles, and some teeny-tiny fish. All at the lake!
#5 – Tubing, anyone? When my husband drove, the kids would play
‘Crack the Whip,’ with the boat! It would fly this way, then that.
Eventually the kids went flying too, but they’d clamber back aboard.
Ready to go tubing again!
#4 – Wake Boarding! Think skiing, on water.
And, more and more people do it on one board, just like skiing.
Imagine flying across the water, but be careful when you cross the wake.
That’s the ripple behind the boat, and it’s hard on new skiers.
#3 – Marinas! They’re the perfect place for a bite to eat, or something cold and sweet.
My kids always went for ice cream, and the souvenirs!!
#2 – Wake Surfing! Surf’s up, Dude! Can you imagine –
surfing on a board, a couple of feet behind the motor?
You hold tight to a rope as the boat pulls you out of the water.
Then when you’re ready, you throw it away. WAHOO!
#1 – Read ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN.
Then head out on a scavenger hunt of your lake.
Record your results on the activity pages at the back of the book.
By the end of vacation, you’ll have a story, and a souvenir.
#ZERO! It’s time for some R&R at your lake.
Rest and Relax! Enjoy the view, and a lake family vacation!
Started 2/22/21 Finished 3/2/21
I saw Chloe King on TV back in 2011. It was a fun series, at least in the beginning, so I bought the set – The Fallen, The Stolen, and The Chosen. The books were way better than the series, as expected.
I still like it because it’s a fun, coming of age story. Think Twilight with a dash of Romeo & Juliet, a side order of Cats for good measure. I’m on Book 2, chapter 24, the Stolen. Girls, no matter their age, still love to have fun!
Chloe King is a seemingly normal girl. She goes to class (most of the time), fights with her mom, and crushes on a boy…or two. But around her sixteenth birthday, Chloe finds that perhaps she isn’t so normal after all. There’s the heightened night vision, the superfast reflexes—oh, and the claws.
As Chloe discovers who she is—and where she comes from—it is clear she is not alone. Someone is trying to get her. And they will stop at nothing until they do. Chloe has nine lives…but will nine be enough?
First released as a trilogy in 2004, this bind-up edition arrives just as the new ABC Family original series The Nine Lives of Chloe King, based closely on the original novels, premieres in June 2011.
Started 2/17/21 Finished 2/21/21
I was looking for fun and fantasy, and I remembered picking this up in 2019. The plot is a mix of mystery and romance, ghosts and second sight. It was a fun read then, and now! This time – 4 days from start to finish!
PS – It appealed to me because the first story I wrote had the ghost of Herman the German and 3 missing Roman legions. No one knew where the battle took place until the 1990’s. That’s when retired British Major Tony Clun found it, armed with a metal detector.
Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea, in this darkly romantic novel of historical fiction by bestselling author Susanna Kearsley.
The invincible ninth Roman Legion marches from York to fight the Northern tribes, and then vanishes from the pages of history. When Verity Grey goes looking for them in modern-day Scotland, she may find more than she bargained for.
Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he's finally found it—not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has "seen" a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.
Here on the windswept Scottish shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of the historical record. Or she may uncover secrets from the romantic past that were buried for a reason.
Started 2/11/21 Finished 2/17/21
I bought and read this book when it came out in 2017. It’s not my normal read, but I saw Ken on Tucker Carlson. He talked about being a longtime Democrat, and he decided to write about the other side of the aisle.
Back then it gave me hope that Democrats and Republicans could work together. I picked it up again this month, looking for that hope again. It still has great insights, tells a few good stories, and has statistics that make sense to me and my point of view. They also helped me understand the other side.
The first 4 chapters made me sad. Nothing’s changed since 2017. In fact it’s worse. I feel like there is never going to be a way for Biden and Trump voters to look at , or listen to each other, with respect or even kindness. I hope I’m wrong, that I won’t be attacked, and that someone will read my words and pick up this book. I guess hope springs eternal.
Keep reading, especially if you’re a conservative like me. You’ll find some things that make you feel better about yourself and the future of this country.
Ken Stern watched the increasing polarization of our country with growing concern. As a longtime partisan Democrat himself, he felt forced to acknowledge that his own views were too parochial, too absent of any exposure to the “other side.” In fact, his urban neighborhood is so liberal, he couldn’t find a single Republican--even by asking around.
So for one year, he crossed the aisle to spend time listening, talking, and praying with Republicans of all stripes. With his mind open and his dial tuned to the right, he went to evangelical churches, shot a hog in Texas, stood in pit row at a NASCAR race, hung out at Tea Party meetings and sat in on Steve Bannon’s radio show. He also read up on conservative wonkery and consulted with the smartest people the right has to offer.
What happens when a liberal sets out to look at issues from a conservative perspective? Some of his dearly cherished assumptions about the right slipped away. Republican Like Me reveals what lead him to change his mind, and his view of an increasingly polarized America.
Started 2/7/21 Finished 2/11/21
I wanted to find out what happened to Lou from ME BEFORE YOU. I’m already 8 chapters in. If I hadn’t bought the book, I might have quit. The first chapter threw me. Lou didn’t appear till page 3 or 4., but it got better!
Done! JoJo added in two new characters. They kept me guessing on where the plot was going, till the very end. And yes, I’ll DEFINITELY go onto book 3.
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.
Started 1/30/21 Finished 2/6/21
This is the Pride & Prejudice variation I thought I had last time. It made an impression on me. It all starts when Elizabeth received those 2 letters from Jane, but Lydia didn’t run away with Wickham this time. She died in an accident. It deepens into a mystery as Elizabeth learns about Lydia’s last days. This version struck a chord with me because of the way Elizabeth grows as a character. She remembers Lydia’s flaws, but she also finds a value in her that hasn’t been acknowlged in any other book.
Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice is readapted in this regency tale of love in the face of tragedy. Mr. Darcy is thwarted in his attempt to propose to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford when he encounters her minutes after she receives the sad news from Longbourn of her sister’s death. His gallantry and compassion as he escorts her back to Hertfordshire begins to unravel the many threads of her discontent with him. While her family heals from their loss, Darcy must search London for answers – answers that might bring justice, but might also just mark the end of his own hopes with Elizabeth. Is it true that nothing can be lost that love cannot find?
Part 1 – Trivia Question: What was the name of the group of University of Munich students who used pamphlets to resist Hitler and the Third Reich?
White Rose People X Black Charcoal Black Sky
Answer: The White Rose (German: Weiße Rose)
Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org
What was the name of a non-violent... | Trivia Answers | QuizzClub
Part 2 – Who Were the Faces Behind the White Rose?
These 4 young men were medical students at the University of Munich. Their studies were interrupted repeatedly by the German War Department. They were forced to serve as student soldiers in the medical corps on the Eastern Front. The things they saw in Russia changed them forever. They became part of the resistance to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi government.
Part 3 – How Did the White Rose Operate?
This is the Monument to the White Rose in front of the University of Munich. It is a perfect tribute – do you see the leaflets?
Hans Scholl and Alexander Morell had to do something after serving on the Russian front. They wrote the first four leaflets, starting at the end of June, then stopping mid-July of 1942. They left them in telephone booths or mailed them to professors and students. They sent some by courier to other students at other universities for distribution there too.
Here are the 1st three leaflets:
Isn't it true that every honest German is ashamed of his government these days? Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes—crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure—reach the light of day?
— 1st leaflet of the White Rose
Since the conquest of Poland, 300,000 Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way ... The German people slumber on in dull, stupid sleep and encourage the fascist criminals. Each wants to be exonerated of guilt, each one continues on his way with the most placid, calm conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty! — 2nd leaflet of the White Rose.
Why do you allow these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanised state system presided over by criminals and drunks? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right—or rather, your moral duty—to eliminate this system?
— 3rd leaflet of the White Rose
Willi, Hans, and Alex were sent back to the Russian front from July 23 to October 30th of 1942. The leaflets stopped, until they returned.
Sophie discovered during the fall of 1942 what her brother Hans was up to, and she joined in. They continued to spread their leaflets until February 18, 1943. That’s when the Stolls got caught. They brought a suitcase full of letters to the University’s main building. They dropped stacks in the empty hallways for students to find when they came out of class.
The Stolls should have stopped when they were ahead. They didn’t. They spotted some leftover letters so they went to the top floor and threw the extras down to the atrium. The maintenance man spotted them and called the Gestapo, the German police. You may think American police are bad, but they are nothing, NOTHING like the Gestapo. They were PURE evil. This is the Atrium, where the Stolls were arrested.
Sophie got rid of her evidence. Hans had one last leaflet, their seventh. He tried to swallow it, but the Gestapo stopped him. They identified the handwriting in the letter, Christoph’s. He was arrested, along with Hans. Sophie could have gotten away. The police thought she was innocent at first, until she confessed . . . Sophie was trying to protect the other members of the White Rose.
Part 4 – The Trials and their Results
Hans, Sophie, and Christoph were tried 4 days later, on February 22, 1943, in the Volksgerichtshof. The court was known for being unfair, and for its frequent death sentences.
The three members of the White Rose were convicted of treason and sentenced to death. I thought they were executed by firing squad. They weren’t. The Nazi’s used the guillotine – that means they used a huge blade to cut off their heads. I thought the guillotine was only used during the French Revolution. Wrong.
The 2nd trial was on April 19, 1943. Sixteen students stood trial. Eleven were sent to prison, one was acquitted, and three were sentenced to death – Willi Graf, Kurt Huber, and Alexander Schmorell.
The 3rd trial with four more students was supposed to be held the next day, April 20, 1943, but it was Hitler’s birthday, and a holiday. The trial was moved back to July 13, 1943. The judge originally planned death sentences, but somehow, the evidence was lost. In 1945 there was one more execution. Another was stopped – just in time – the Allies rescued her.
This is where this post should end, with the final resting place of Hans, Sophie, and Christoph. It’s next door to the prison where they died. My hope – that they rest in peace, knowing they stood up for what was right, and they did it peacefully.
German Democratic Republic stamp from 1961.
2,000,000 went into circulation.
-Hans Scholl – By stadtarchiv-crailsheim.de, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58900954
-Alex Schmorell – By Angelika Knoop-Probst, Nicoasc (talk · contribs) - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18328905
-Christoph Probst – By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58916181
-Willi Graf – By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58900161
-The Atrium – By No machine-readable author provided. Cfaerber assumed (based on copyright claims).
-The Courtroom - By Richard Huber - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5526257
-The Grave Site - By Rufus46 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2870213
Part 1: What’s a Golden Hour?
I googled, and Wikipedia said, “In photography, the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly before sunrise, or before sunset, during which daylight is softer than when the sun is higher in the sky.
Cinematographers call it the magic hour, but it’s really only 20 – 30 minutes before sunrise, and, before sunset.
Source: Golden hour (photography) - Wikipedia
Part 2: What is My Golden Hour? Mine is much longer than 30 minutes! Thank goodness because it’s my ‘primetime for writing.” It’s when I’m at my best, when my brain is in top form.
I don’t get up at sunrise . . . more like 10:30ish! I read and eat breakfast Then I look at my emails and Facebook. I take my pills. THEN it’s . . . the Golden Hour!
I write until I’m hungry for lunch. I stop, eat, and get back to work. I usually don’t stop until dinner. I’m so glad I have hours, not minutes! That’s when I do my manuscript writing. That’s when I work on those stories I want to publish.
Lately it’s been the 4 manuscripts for the agent audition challenge. I won’t finish in time for February, but I’ve been given as much extra time as I need.
SAFETY POWER SUPER STARS is almost ready. It’s the farthest along, even though it’s only been through 4 rounds of critiques. Lynne Marie, the Picture Book Mechanic, is the toughest critiquer I’ve met, but her suggestions have moved my stories farther than anyone else. I trust her judgement!
She said it’s time to send if off to Rate Your Story. The last time SAFETY POWER got a 6, not so good. She thinks it will get a much higher score this time. My fingers are crossed!
My duck story has changed titles since I started the audition challenge. It used to be PEACE AT THE DOCK. Now it’s DUCKS AT THE DOCK. The main character’s name changed too, from Drake to Liam. They’re small changes, but small changes add up!
The ducks have been through 5 rounds of editing. They’re closer. The bones are good, but they still need a little fine tuning . . . so I’ll keep editing and revising.
My Nativity story has been through 5 rounds of revision. Lynne Marie did the last 2 so I’m making major changes. It’s good, but it’s also a struggle.
We did a zoom call when the ducks gave me fits. It helped. I looked at her Nativity comments and knew it was time to zoom again. I took notes, then left them in the computer while I finished work on another manuscript.
I gave yesterday/today’s golden hours to the Nativity. Both days I doubted my revisions. Funny, but when I reread yesterday’s changes, I felt better. I hope it will be true tomorrow too.
My dog story has also been through 5 rounds of revision. I have a feeling I didn’t go far enough with Lynne Marie’s suggestions. I tried. I did the ones I felt comfortable with. I pushed them as far as I could with my golden hours last week.
I sent it off tonight. Now it will sit in the computer and wait to see what Lynne Marie thinks. In the meantime, the Nativity and the ducks will bask in my golden hours.
Poor Blue! He’s a poison dart frog, and he’s gotten very little golden time. He’s part of the sequel I’m planning for Zoe. Her lake scavenger hunt is coming out March 9th. I hope next spring the zoo scavenger hunt will come out too.
For now, the other 4 stories come first, but I managed to work on the zoo, during non-golden hours. I roughed out the outline, researched my animals, and wrote the first chapter. It’s a start, but there’s so much more to do.
Poor ants! They’re part of my middle grade chapter book. They haven’t been touched for the last 3 months. They’re on the back burner for now, but I have a plan. It’s waiting for the end of the agent audition challenge. Then those ants will get the golden hour attention they deserve.
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!