Question 1 –
What vegetable was traditionally carved long before pumpkins?
Turnips Beeetroot Cabbage Potatoes
And the answer is . . . TURNIPS!
I can’t imagine hollowing out any of these vegetables, but evidently back in the 18th century (the 1700’s) pranksters used to hollow out turnips. Then they’d carve scary faces into them and turn them into lanterns. Some people said those faces represented evil spirits. Others said the faces kept evil spirits away.
Question 2 –
So where did those first jack-o-lanterns come from?
United States Ireland France Transylvania
And the answer is . . . Ireland!
Here’s the map of Europe. Do you see, France and Romania? They’re both in purple.
d you eliminate Transylvania? It’s not even a country. It’s actually in the center of Romania.
Ireland is in yellow, and the Irish were the ones who started making jack-o-lanterns out of turnips. It’s based on this old Irish folk tale . . .
Stingy Jack tricked the Devil out of his soul, but the Devil got even. He made Jack walk through the underworld with a lantern. It was really a turnip, held on a stick, lit by coal.
The Irish started making their own lanterns using a big turnip or potato. When immigrants came to the US, they brought their lanterns with them.
We switched to the pumpkin, a much bigger and better vegetable! The US isn’t on this map. You’d have to go west from Ireland across the Atlantic Ocean to find the US.
More Info: www.history.com
Part 2 – The Roots of Halloween
Question 3 –
Who is at the roots of Halloween?
The Celts (Kelts) The Romans
Question 4 –
What’s the name of their original festival?
Samhain (sow-in like cow)
Question 5 –
Why did they need this festival?
To speak with dead ancestors
To make predictions for the future
The answers . . . The Celts were at the roots of Halloween. If you look at the map above, they originally came from Ireland, the United Kingdom (England), and France. The first photo is a wooden Celtic figure.
Their Festival was known as Samhain. It started the night of October 31st, when the fall harvest was ending. The Celts believed that ghosts returned to cause trouble and damage their crops. They also believed those ghosts made it easier for the Druids, the Celtic priests, to predict the future. A Druid is in the last picture.
The Druids made huge bonfires. The people burned food and animals in them as sacrifices to their gods. The Celts wore animal heads and skins. They told fortunes for each other. Their festival helped them survive a long, cold winter with no grocery stores or new crops till spring.
The sacrifices, are now our treats. We exchanged the animal heads and skins for costumes, and the fortune telling became the trick part of Trick or Treat.
Tricks have mostly disappeared, but early Americans used to celebrate their harvests by telling ghost stories and fortunes, or by singing and dancing. Maybe with Covid this year, we should go back to those roots.
Please check out this source. It has a short video, 12 seconds, plus 4 sets of photos with the ghosts of Halloween past.
Part 3 – Halloween and Pop-Culture
Question 6 –
Which weighed more?
The Titanic OR One year of trick or treat candy
Question 7 –
When did kids trick or treat for coins, toys, and home-made sweets?
30’s & 40’s 50’s & 60’s 70’s & 80’s
Question 8 –
What is the most popular Halloween song of all time?
Dark Masquerade Farewell Forever Monster Mash Awaken
The answers . . . I can’t believe it . . . Halloween candy! The Titanic weighed a mere 100 million pounds, and it was one of the biggest ships of all time!
Every year we buy about 600 million pounds for one Halloween. That’s six Titanic’s! We must love our kids and their candy!
In the 1950’s and 1960’s kids got coins or toys or home-made sweets. I trick-or-treated in the 60’s, and I never got a single toy. Not one! Candy was cheaper to give away. When I started, we got regular size candy bars. When I finished, people gave out the miniature ones.
Home-made treats – I didn’t get them very often. By then more and more moms were working and didn’t have time to bake. Besides, would you rather have a chocolate chip cookie or candy? I’d pick candy every time!
By the 70’s and 80’s people started putting bad things in the treats. I remember hospitals would x-ray candy for kids. It’s a sad day when you can’t trust Halloween candy.
The most popular Halloween song – THE MONSTER MASH! Perhaps you’ve heard it! I have – ever since 1962 when I was 3 years old! It’s been a Halloween hit ever since for Bobby “Boris” Pickett.
Here’s the link for an animated version of Boris’ song. I remember the stairs and the blinking eyes from my childhood. Enjoy!
Read and Write - I’m always reading. I pick Young Adult/Adult books to read for fun on my Kindle. They can be new or old. It doesn’t matter.
With children’s books, I only read new ones, and I read them as a writer to stay current with the market. I pick out 4 picture books and a chapter/middle grade book a month from my local library.
I don’t read them just for fun. I read them to understand how to write for kids, to learn how to put in the content they need. It helps me build words and sentences into stories.
I also enter each one in my book log. I write about what I like/ don’t like. My Log is where I find the titles I review for My Reads. I look for books that match up to each new blog post.
I’m always writing! I write in segments for my website each night. After I finish a post, I pick a book to review. It’s one of the things I’ve done over the past four years to build a platform as a writer.
During the day I write as much as possible. I hate days with appointments. I never get as far as I hope. I always want more.
My favorite writing days are when I can stay in my PJ’s most of the day, and I can focus on the words. It’s heaven!
I never expected to have 3 WIP’s (Works in Progress) at the same time. Two of them are scheduled for March 2021. The third is due in October.
It’s funny to say a book is due, but in some ways it’s like birthing a baby. You have to give it enough time and nourishment to grow into a story you’re willing to put your name on.
Here’s what it looks like when I write. I find a comfy spot and sit with my laptop. I used to write in a room by myself. If there was any noise, I’d put on headphones. The bad part – it isolated me from my family.
I still write in a comfy spot, but now the TV is on. It’s background noise. I half listen, but my attention is focused on my writing. The best part – my husband can be in the room, and I can be part of the family.
Take Classes, Market Ourselves, or Our Books - When I was teaching, this is what my classes looked like. Well, if I only had 15 in my room. Most years I had between 20 and 25. The first year I had 30. YIKES! That’s a lot of kids to divide my time between. If each kid could talk for 1 minute, they could each speak twice in an hour. Most people don’t think of class size that way. Teachers do!
When I took classes, to help me teach or write better, I used to have to physically go into a class. That’s lovely if it’s only 30 minutes away. Once I traveled 15 hours to do a weekend of classes at Highlights, you know the magazine company! It was great, but expensive – time and money-wise.
I’ve also taken classes or done critiques online. I’ve never had a critique partner in my home town. Writing for kids is not something done in Wapak or Auglaize County, Ohio. I’ve had critique partners in Ohio, in Tennessee, across the country, and a few that were international. I’m in two online groups now, and one of my partners is originally from New Zeeland. Now she lives in Canada. The kidlit world is a small one after all!
Since Covid reared its ugly head, online is the only way things are done in the kidlit world. I went to my first national conferenc SCBWI in LA because of Covid. I would never pay airfare and hotel to get there, especially when my learning curve as a writer is still high.
Right now I’m working my way through the Northern Ohio SCBWI conference, online. I had 13 videos I wanted to watch. I have 3 left to see by the 19th. Only 2 days left, but if I don’t make it, that’s OK. I did the ones I wanted to see, FIRST!
Marketing is as unfamiliar to me as this illustration is. I’m a second grade teacher. That’s my wheelhouse, where my skills are.
Marketing, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, is about getting people to do what you want. I understand that – I am a teacher! But I don’t understand how to sell my book, or me as an author. That’s way over my head, like 100 feet deep!
But I am excited about marketing this year! I’m working with a hybrid publisher. It’s a little of self and traditional publishing smushed together. So far, I LOVE working with an editor. I love pushing my work to be better.
Soon we’ll start working on marketing for this new book, and you’ll HEAR about it. They’ll do part of the work. They’ll also guide me on how I can help. I’ll watch, take notes, and apply those things to NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. I can’t wait!
This part of marketing, I DO understand! I know shopping, and one of the best places to sell Neil is at a museum gift shop. Neil was once sold at two museums – The Armstrong Museum in Wapak and the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. I’ve been trying to get it into a NASA Museum in Virginia. I was close – till Covid hit. Now it’s time to try again. Christmas is coming, and Neil’s book is a perfect gift for aviation-loving kids!
Part 1 – Celebrating a Socially Distant Halloween Trick or Treat
Project #1 – A Halloween Candy Slide
Trick or treat, anyone?
If your community is holding one this year,
here’s the perfect way to use social distancing, with PVC pipe. Here’s a basic supply list:
PVC pipe Spray Paint Cheese cloth
Skull Skeleton Acrylic Paint
Tools: glue gun scissors Hacksaw.
To get started, click on this link. It’s my source, and it also starts with a video: https://www.instructables.com/Halloween-Candy-Slide/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email
You might watch this video before trying this project. I added in photos and quick directions below to help you decide if it’s right for you.
1. Cut the pipes into the right lengths. 2. Assemble the bases.
3. Add the lips. 4. Paint the stands. Theirs is in black, but you could
use white, or, a different color.
5. Add the slide. 6. Decorate! You can use skeletons, witches, or
whatever’s on sale. Happy Trick or Treat!
Project #2 – A Halloween Cooler – OR – Walk by Candy Containers
I was looking for another socially distant way to pass out candy, and I think this could work. The project is done as a cooler, but I can imagine a string of pumpkins sitting at the end of my driveway. Let kids take one or two treats out of each pumpkin. It would be cute, fun, AND SAFE!
Here’s my source link, but no video. It doesn’t need one.
I’m sharing some steps with quick basic directions to help you decide if this project’s for you.
1. Draw a line to help you cut the top of your pumpkin. Cut, then scoop out the pumpkin pulp.
2. Repeat step 1 with the side of your pumpkin. Then give it a bleach bath.
It will keep your pumpkin from rotting for as long as possible. Then decorate.
3. Line your pumpkin with plastic wrap. Add ice if you need a cooler.
Add treats if you’re using your pumpkin as a candy dish.
Now, get ready . . . get set . . .
GO Trick or Treat, 2020 style.
Part 2 – Three Cute Costumes
#1 – Paper Butterfly This is one cute costume whether you follow the directions on the site, or make up your own. Here are photos for the wings, abdomen, and head.
Costume 2 – Spiderboy/girl What kid wouldn’t love this costume? The spider legs are black socks stuffed with newspaper. You hold them in place using cardboard and a black bag. His mom used face paint for his mask. She made two sketches before actually painting his face. You could do the same with a real mask. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Spider-Costume/
First sketch Second Face Paint
Costume 3 – Shower Anyone? Try this one! The other two shots show the tricky parts, the framework. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Shower-Costume/
Looking for something unique, try this one: https://www.instructables.com/Toilet-Costume/
If you still didn’t find a costume, try this link: https://www.instructables.com/howto/costumes/
Part 3 – Snack Time!
Snack 1 – Broomstick Anyone? If a picture’s worth 1000 words, these two equal this recipe. All you need are some pretzel sticks and cheese. The strip that goes around the cheese, is Nori (seaweed), but you could substitute anything long and stringy. Licorice could work, but I don’t know how it would taste. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Witches-Brooms/
Snack – Sand-witch? These three pictures are worth a recipe too, but I’d click on the link for some of the details. The author gives you a list of possible foods for each piece of the witch. She also has some basic patterns to help you cut your food. Finally there’s a video from Susan’s mother. She invented the sand-witch to get Susan to eat. If you want to be as cool as Susan’s mom, try red food-coloring in your milk, and you can pretend to be a vampire too!
Snack 3 – These eyes have it! WOW! They do! Would you believe that these eyeballs are made with fruit? I didn’t – till I read the recipe. The other ingredients hold it together. Click on this link, and then have some fun!
Part 4 – Projects Please!
Project 1 – A Haunted House This project came from a Kindergarten teacher.
She started with the letter H, made from strips of construction paper.
You’ll need black markers next. Add the roof, then the sides. Doors and windows come last.
Finish by drawing in the other details. Miss Kelly has her kids draw with pencil, then color in with marker. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Arts-and-Crafts-for-the-Letter-H/
Project 2 – Pastel Haunted House I love each and every one of these houses. They’re all different!
1. Pick two watercolors. Then mix them together on your page. Let it dry COMPLETELY.
2. Draw lightly with pencil. Put in everything you want – Graves, Trees, Bats, Moon, a Ghost. Don’t forget a house with doors and windows. Everything you draw will be colored in yellow, or black.
3. Start with your yellow Pastel. Don’t overdo it. Keep the focus on black. Let the yellow pop out.
4. Finish up with black Pastel. You’re done when your paper is filled by paint or Pastels.
Project 3 – Blockhead/Headless Robots Too cute! But you need to be old enough to use an Xacto knife, or have a parent do it for you. Click on the link for directions and for PDF’s to download and print out. The robots come in 2 sizes, with and without color.
Part 1 – Setting the Stage
Welcome to Germany, and to North Rhine Westphalia. In German, it’s spelled Noordrhien-Westfalen. It’s one of their 16 states.
Look at the map again, and find the red dot above the ‘e’ in Westfalen. That’s Münster. Now take your finger northeast to Osnabrück.
Lengerich is in the middle, and that’s where the real bat story took place, where I was pushed into writing – by a flying mammal!
Here are two postcards from Lengerich. Take a look around. I love the old buildings, the architecture. The first one reads ‘Beautiful Lengerich.’ The second is easier – Lengerich in Tecklenburger Land. That’s the beautiful northeastern section of Westphalia known for its hills, forests, and 100 castles.
I met Uschi, my host, when I finally arrived in Lengerich. I was a little anxious about staying a month with a stranger. Sending a few letters back and forth helped!
I wish I had a picture of her house, but I never took any. We spent all our time in her favorite place. In the US we call it the backyard. In Germany it’s the garden. Uschi did all the work herself. She’s one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met!
Uschi had six small gardens within her back yard. Each one unique and gorgeous! I’m not an outside girl, but I learned to be. I enjoyed every moment in Uschi’s garden!
Come inside Uschi’s house. It’s gorgeous, like her garden. This is her living room, where I met the bat. Sorry, I never got its picture!
But I made some other friends. The cat is Baghira, and the dog is Odin. They belonged to Uschi’s daughter Nina. I felt like I’d been given a new family, for a month, and I adored them!
Part 2 – In Flew a Bat
Look at the living room above, again. Imagine it’s the witching hour – midnight! It was my second night in Lengerich, and I was sitting in the chair behind Nina, reading. Uschi was watching the news from across the room.
From the corner of my eye, I saw something flying back and forth across her house. I’m a city girl. I thought it was a bird. Whatever it was, I wanted it to fly out the door. German doors and windows don’t have screens. All of them were open that night, and that’s how it made it into the house.
I called, “Uschi, bird!” When you’re in a foreign country, the fewer words the better. Uschi didn’t answer – she was sleeping. I walked over, quietly . . . I didn’t want to upset the bird . . . I nudged Uschi, and said ‘bird.’ She woke up, and then we started arguing/discussing what it was. I said bird. She said night bird, and whatever-it-was kept flying through the house, over and over again. Now I wonder, was it laughing at the two of us?
Then Uschi crossed the room. She picked up a thick book, 2 or 3 inches thick. Maybe not as big as this one, but big!
I looked at the book and wondered what she was going to do with it. The only thing I could think of – hit the bird with it.
She didn’t . . . she opened it up . . . turned to the page with the word Fledermaus. I didn’t have time to look –
Because the bird was hanging upside down, not from a branch, but from the curtain rod. I didn’t need to look in the book, which happened to be a German/English dictionary to know that it was a bat, a Fledermaus. BTW- German nouns are always capitalized.
Uschi and I argued about what to do (the bat’s still flying through the house). She was worried it could hurt us, or worse, fly into our hair.
I said, “It won’t. My 2nd graders read two stories about bats. They both said bats are interested in bugs, not people. Bats have echolocation so they know where they’re flying.”
I tried talking to the bat. I asked it to fly outside and catch some bugs, but it just stared at us. Either it didn’t speak Amerikanisch (American English), or it wanted to watch humans panic.
Then Uschi abandoned me – yes, my 2nd night in Germany, she left me alone with the bat, but she went searching for something, anything to help. Meanwhile I was stuck inside with the bat, still talking, still being ignored.
Then – I saw something – a mop at the back of the room. And – I had an idea – get the mop, hold it up to the bat, and the bat would start flying again. It didn’t!
It climbed down onto the mop with three limbs. The fourth clung to the curtain rod, just in case.
We stared at each other, like forever. Then I heard Uschi come in the door. I yelled, “Uschi, door!”
It was my short way of saying – leave the door open. The bat might fly outside.
My words broke the spell. The bat swept away from the mop and started flying again.
Eventually its echolocation found the door, and it flew out into the German night.
The End – For Now –
I didn’t think I was enough, or this story either. Another post is coming.
It will introduce you to two more characters, and where I found them.
Link for that post:
Part 1 - Meet Pragya – She’s a Visual FX Artist by day, and a children’s writer by night. She loves writing stories rooted in adventure, magic, and mythology. Pragya believes in the power of stories to inspire and touch hearts. She wants to make childhood special. That’s why some of her stories are written for our youngest readers. Pragya is also the founder of PenMagicBoooks Publishing.
BTW – FX artists are the ones who create elements on screen like fire, water, explosions, cloth, hair, and so much more. What a cool job!
long ago. Those bits remind me of Aladdin. The first movie was set in Agra, India. That’s also where you’ll find the Taj Mahal. It’s a gorgeous building dedicated to the favorite wife of an emperor.
The second photo is another reminder of the dual nature of India. Delhi is quite modern with things like cars, but there’s still room for the ancient, like this ox cart. It feels like a normal part of Delhi, not something that should be in a museum.
Pragya did not stay in Delhi or Bollywood to pursue her film career. The first picture is from a Bollywood movie. She came to the US in 2003 to study film at USC (University of Southern California). She earned an MFA, Masters of Fine Arts in Film, Video, and Computer Animation. She won the Sloan Award in Animation in 2006. Pragya is talented!
Here are some of the feature films and TV shows that she’s worked on – Disney’s Bolt, A Christmas Carol, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Star Wars, Transformers 3, and Kungfu Panda. She’s worked on Nickelodeon’s TV shows WallyKazam and Shimmer and Shine. Are you impressed? I am! I would love to sit and listen to her stories for an hour, two, or three. WOW!
What happens when you discover you and your best friend are opposites? That’s what Pragya, Donkey, and Unicorn must figure out by the end of the story. Unicorn is everything neat, sparkly, and clean, and Donkey is the opposite. How can they possibly remain friends? Only Pragya knows!
Meet a few animal babies and their Mamas in this bedtime story. It’s written in rhyme, with bright illustrations. Cuddle up together, and then say good night.
Bug loves being lazy. He’d rather skip getting dressed, or going to school, but things change when his parents stop doing all the work. What will Bug do – enjoy his lazy lifestyle, or take charge? You’ll have to check out this book to find out.
May 7, 2020
This is a coloring book kids will love. Meet 25 animals, and their butts. Then pick your favorite way to color – crayons, markers, colored pencils, watercolors, mixed media, whatever! Pragya’s only requirement – have fun!
If you’re looking for a way to help your favorite girl with confidence, gratitude, or self-esteem, try this journal, and its writing prompts. Words have power, and this book might just empower your favorite girl.
Now there’s also a coloring book version with positive affirmations for your favorite girl.
Be careful what you wish for! Little Elephant Bina Trunk thinks life will be perfect when she gets her wish and turns into a princess, but she discovers something unexpected. Being a special elephant is fun, but so is being herself too. What’s a girl to do?
What’s Bug to do when he stumbles over a stack of letters addressed to Santa Claus? They can’t make it to the North Pole on time! Bug spots a shooting star and makes a wish – to become Santa. Who would have made it hard to return those letters – the reindeer, the elves, someone on the naughty list? Inquiring minds will have to read to find out!
Ready for an adventure? Travel to India, and follow two elephant kids, Babu and Bina. They enter a cave and wind up trapped by the ghost of an ancient Maharaja. The fun starts – when the kids make a deal with the ghost. I bet his bargain is more about tricks than treats!
From my life! I didn’t think it was exceptional, but I’ve found some great stories to tell.
Story #1 – This was the first one I wrote. It came from the unbelievable moment when I held ¾ of a bat on a mop. Really! But I didn’t have enough confidence to tell that story. So my German friends introduced me to Herman the German and the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. When I thought it was ready, I took it to Highlights. It was good, but had lots of first writer mistakes. It’s still in my computer, waiting for me to grow into it.
Photo Source for the Teutoburg Forest By Arminia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1343268
Story #2 – I couldn’t let go of the bat so I wrote the mostly true story. The characters – 2 bats, a German grandmother, and her American granddaughter. Frog and Toad served as my mentor text. I took it to an SCBWI conference for a critique. My reader said it was flat and that bats don’t have legs – the shelf life for a bat story is September and October, longer if I had reading followers. It’s safe in my computer waiting for me to build that career.
Story #3 – If bats don’t have legs, schools do! They’re forever. Every summer I closed down my classroom, and the school felt dead. In August I’d re open it and prepare for a new batch of kids. I wanted to tell that story using a caterpillar and the butterfly it became, but I couldn’t find my way into that story.
I don’t remember how, but somehow ants found their way in, and I found my words, over 30 chapters worth. I believe this will be a book someday, but I haven’t found the right words, the right story arc yet.
I spent most of the summer working on those ants. I have 4 chapters to go. I built up the beginning, got rid of the saggy middle. Now I have to write to the climax and finish with a satisfying ending. Summer school was the best thing ever for me and my ants!
Story #4 – My dog Leia gave me this idea. That’s her in the first picture. The second is a look-alike. Leia used to sit outside my bathroom door every morning waiting for me. I’d ask if she was hungry. If she wasn’t, she’d just stare. If my daughter forgot, Leia went crazy – bouncing, barking, and telling on my daughter. When you write a story, it changes. It grows and develops. Leia’s did. I hope someday I can find a way to tell her story.
Story #5 – I went into lockdown with my last class in 2014/2015. I remember it like it happened yesterday. I didn’t think of it as a story until a year later. Since then it’s gone through lots of revisions, It started as the lockdown I experienced, but that’s too real for my audience. I changed the setting into a drill, and now I have a better chance of seeing this story published. It’s close. I’m working to find and agent and a publisher for it. Someday!
Story #6 – I wrote this story before I published my newest book. I don’t think it has a niche market like Lake Fun did, so it’s still sitting in my computer. Both stories started at Norris Lake. That’s where my husband and I have a house. It’s heaven, unless the ducks visited our dock. I love them on the water, but not so much on the dock. They think it’s their poop deck, literally, and they don’t clean up their own mess. My husband and I have to. The story changed, as it always does. Now a young boy is telling about a lake vacation with his grandparents. It’s perfect, until the ducks arrive.
Story #7 – This was my first published book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. It started with a part of Neil’s real wind tunnel. Do you see it? It’s to the left of the red print. I discovered it when I was training to be a docent at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum back in the fall of 2017. I was fascinated, thinking how Neil built it back in 1946. He was 16, and he modeled it after the Wright Brothers. In May of 2018 I decided to write and self-publish this story.
Story #8 – This was my first picture book from 2020. The inspiration – that middle picture. It’s our lake house. I wanted to do a book about my lake and all the fun my family had. I thought I had a niche market at the lake and its marinas. I started writing during the summer of 2019. By August it was time to figure out the illustrations. Finding a way to do that last illustration, wakesurfing, was key. It’s an image I wanted kids to see, to read about. My critique partner said he could digitally enhance a photo from Pixabay so it would look like a real illustration. When I looked at that image, I knew I could keep writing!
Stories # 9 & 10 – Both are scheduled for March of 2021, for now. Take a look at these two images. They’re clues to the next 2 books. I’ll tell you more, SOON!
Story #11 – It will debut in October of 2021, for now. I thought about next month, but I changed my mind in July. I’m glad I did. Extra time is always a good thing!
Part 1 – Update on Taking a Writing Class
I wrote a post about taking a writing class back in June. Here’s the link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/taking-a-writing-class
It started with this illustration and these words: This is the main character from a story I’ve worked on since 2011. Her name, Poppy Minor . . .
That was June 13th. I was finishing chapters 13 & 14, and I was 44 days into my class. I was still hoping to finish all 30 chapters, by the middle of July. I said I’d update you back on June 13th, and here it is . . .
I sent in Chapters 13 & 14 on June 18. Chapters 19 & 20 went in July 7.
I sent in Chapters 15 & 16 on June 28. Chapters 21 & 22 went in July 20.
I sent in Chapters 17 & 18 on July 2. Chapters 23 & 24 went in on July 29.
It took me about 7 days to edit and submit two chapters. Then I fell off a cliff!
I sent in Chapter 25 & 26 on September 12. It took me 45 days to get them done.
Chapter 25 only took 3 or 4 days. Chapter 26 took the rest. I knew it would be more than a week, but I never ever would have guessed 40. That’s Biblical! Like Noah and that ark, 40 days and 40 nights!
Left: Chapters 27 & 28 The final Chapters 29 & 30
Will it take me 90 days to finish 4 chapters? It could even be 30- 40 days a chapter. I hope not! I’d love to finish before Christmas!
Part 2 – How & Why I Got Stuck
Poor Poppy! She was stuck in her story like this ant is trapped in amber. I hadn’t written or edited Chapter 26 in 5 years. The good news – I grew as a writer during that time. The bad – the words in Chapter 26 were trapped in time.
The other 25 chapters grew with me. I learned to add in the 5 senses. Writing what Poppy saw was easy, but the others were harder. Middle grade novels don’t have pictures so words have to show what Poppy was hearing, smelling, feeling, even tasting. That’s how readers become part of the story.
I also learned how to show, then tell. In stories you never say Poppy’s sad. You write . . . Poppy was lost outside. She couldn’t find her way home. She felt hopeless. Showing, then telling helps you bond with a character.
Then I took a writing class in May and June. I worked my way through those first 25 chapters. I learned how to give each character their own personality. I have 6 ants in the story, but each one has to be different. You have to tell them apart, like you do with identical twins.
I added a new character, another bee. He has to be different than the first one, and he has to become part of the plot.
I also built up the middle. It used to be saggy. Now it’s not. I have 2 more chapters till I reach the climax. In a middle grade novel that’s the point where the main character is hopeless. They feel like everything is lost, that they will never succeed. I must push Poppy to the breaking point. Then in chapters 29 and 30 I can drive her towards a satisfying ending.
I wonder, will chapter 27 and 28 be harder than 26? Will I reach my breaking point?
I think chapter 29 and 30 will be easy, like Sunday morning. At least that’s what Lionel Richie used to sing about.
PS – I’ll do an update to let you know.
LAKE FUN came out on May 9th.
On the 19th, Vivian Kirkfield helped us celebrate with an Amazon review, a birthday post, and an interview about how this story came to be. Click on the link, and you can read it too.
Valerie Biel welcomed us to her website on June 3rd. She started with a LAKE FUN review and ended with the Super Six – six of my favorite things.
In-between she asked how I got started, the choices I made in LAKE FUN, even my first job. Click the link, and you can find out more about us.
Here’s Valerie’s link: https://valeriebiel.com/blog/lake-fun-you-and-me-book-review-and-interview-author-rinda-beach?fbclid=IwAR2PcwtJonwPOQdiqWxjuLagGGcbDCZ8mJyur2J9pvdwUOG-YtvJZGaxi9
June McCrary Jacobs posted our interview on June 8th. Scroll past the ‘About the Author and About the Book,’ and you’ll see my favorite illustrations from LAKE FUN. Keep going, and you’ll find my favorite part of the interview – 10 Behind the Scene Facts About the Book. You won’t see them anywhere else, altogether like this. Click the link, and enjoy!
Here's June's link:
Welcome to Math is Everywhere, and Kaitlyn Sanchez’s interview from July 10th. She had five questions about LAKE FUN – my inspiration, why I made it interactive, my favorite thing to do at the lake, and my hope for this book. My last answer made her LOL. Kaitlyn asked if I could fly a kite or have tea by the fire with my favorite author, what would I pick? My answer – neither! You’ll have to click to read the part that made her laugh!
Here’s Kaitlyn’s link: https://kaitlynleannsanchez.com/2020/07/10/author-interview-and-giveaway-about-lake-fun-interactive-book-by-rinda-beach/
Podcast #1 –
Welcome to http://www.jedlie.com/, the online home of Jed Doherty. I’ve been on his program twice. It’s nice to see what he really looks like.
Jed and I sat down to talk about LAKE FUN, and our chat went live on June 21st. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking to him.
Here’s Jedlie’s Link:
Podcast #2 –
Hello from https://conniebdowell.com/, Connie B. Dowell’s home page. Our podcast went live on June 24th. The next 3 paragraphs from that link . . .
“Hello from the road! The Dowell family is taking a very careful, socially distanced trip to see my parents…and basically not leave their house the whole time we are there. Wish us luck! We have packed so, so, so many disinfecting wipes.
Today, we’ve got a repeat guest, children’s author Rinda Beach. This time, she’s talking about how she created her latest book, Lake Fun for You and Me, which is both a picture book with a story and a journal with prompts for kids to write and draw about their own lake experiences. If you’re writing a book with an interactive or journaling element, this is the episode for you!
Finally, as I recorded my intro and outro for this episode, I thought I’d be back next week with a regular episode, but as I coped with work and travel, I’ve had to reassess. So, I’ll be taking my first week off of podcasting since last year. Talk to you all again on July 8th!"
Here's Connie’s link: http://bookechoes.com/2020/06/24/writing-a-book-with-a-journaling-element-with-rinda-beach/?fbclid=IwAR2PcwtJonwPOQdiqWxjuLagGGcbD
Meet Korrie – She’s celebrating her first picture book. It came out September 1st. Tomorrow it’s a week old. Korrie is both its author and illustrator. Her next picture book will come out April 1st, 2021.
Korrie has a tremendous reach. She does freelance and published illustrations. She writes picture books and young adult novels. I don’t know many people who have this kind of range.
Korrie lives in San Francisco, California with her husband and two cats. I found their photo on her website.
When Korrie’s not writing or illustrating, you’ll find her playing soccer, enjoying coffee at her favorite shop, or looking for a new book. She has stacks and stacks of them in her apartment, but so far there’s always been room for one more.
If you’d like to learn more about Korrie, check out her website: https://www.korrieleer.com/
On the left is one of Korrie’s illustrations. You can see more by clicking ‘About’ on her website.
On the right is a sample of Korrie’s freelance work. She does logos,
mascots, invitations, gifts, marketing materials, and nursery/wedding décor. Click on ‘Freelance’ to see more of her work. There’s also a form to contact Korrie.
Part 2 – Korrie in Books
Korrie’s Debut Picture Book
Having a new baby can be traumatic for a big brother or sister. It is for Cassie. Boxes arrive, but they’re not for her. Then the baby appears and takes the attention. But when the loud nonstop crying starts, Cassie has to do something. She finds an empty box and tries to sail away from the noise. Will it work? You’ll have to read to find out.
PS – This book is perfect for families with new babies. It lets the big sibling escape, but there’s something that makes them want to return home again.
Coming soon . . .
April 1, 2021 . . .
You can preorder it now.
Sisters Leah and Lilly have one thing in common – they share a bedroom. Leah’s mess drives Lilly crazy, and she thinks only a wild animal could share a room with her. Imagine all the fun Lilly can have picking the perfect zoo-mate for her sister. This sounds like the perfect book to help kids get through sibling battles.
Part 1 – Trivia Question
Which basketball player died on January 26, 2020, in a California helicopter crash?
Kevin Durant Michael Jordan LeBron James Kobe Bryant
The answer – Kobe Bryant.
The others are alive and doing well!
I’m not a big basketball fan, let alone one of Kobe Bryant, but I remember the day he died. I remember the grief felt across the country. I felt it too.
It was the details about that last day that made me want to write about him. They inspired me.
I put Kobe’s name on my list back in January, but when I saw the trivia question last week, it was a sign – time to write this post. Here are 5 fast facts from my source at Quizzclub that caught my eye. They show his character and say something about him, something great.
Part 2 – Five Fast Facts
1. Kobe played all 20 years of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Most players move around.
2. He went right from high school to the Lakers. I knew LeBron did, but not Kobe.
3. He was an All-Star for 18 of 20 seasons. It took 2 short years to make him one
4. He helped the Lakers win 5 NBA championships. He was picked twice as the Finals MVP – Most Valuable Player.
5. He led the NBA in scoring for 2 seasons. He’s #4 in all-time scoring during both the regular season and postseason.
No wonder he’s considered one of the greatest players of all time. But that’s not why I wanted to write about him. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why!
My sources: More Info: en.wikipedia.org
The last time I saw Kobe was in 2004. It was a horrible time for Kobe, his family, and his accuser. He was involved in a court case. I felt bad for all of them. Everyone goes through dark times. It’s how you respond to them that says something about you. It does about Kobe.
Part 3 – Three Inspiring Stories
Story 1. NBA marriages usually don’t end well. There’s intense pressure from fame and travel. Kobe’s lasted until death parted them. It wasn’t perfect. It had its ups and downs. I am so impressed by how much Kobe and Vanessa went through, and still stuck together.
Photo Source: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Kobe Bryant, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85728664
The Bryants met in November of 1999. Vanessa was a high school senior, and Kobe was on his way to his first NBA championship, his third year playing ball. By May of 2000 they were engaged. They married in April 2001. By then the Lakers had 3 championships. Marrying so young, with so much fame, had to be difficult, for both of them.
The waves kept coming with a baby girl in 2003, the court case in 2004, a miscarriage in 2005, and another little girl in 2006. So much joy and so much pain in three short years for a young couple. It took its toll.
In December of 2011 they separated and were headed for divorce, but they didn’t. The Bryants reconciled in January of 2013. Not many couples can put a marriage back together. It says something wonderful about them, and the value they placed on family.
The Bryants had a third daughter in 2016, the same year Kobe retired, and a fourth in 2019. Kobe and Vanessa packed a lot of life into their 18 years of marriage. My wish, everyone’s wish, would have been for Kobe, Vanessa, and their four girls to have had more time together. My heart, my prayers go out to Vanessa who lost a husband and daughter, and to her three girls who lost a father and a sister. It’s hard to believe it was only eight short months ago. With coronavirus, it feels like forever.
Story #2. I watched Vanessa Bryant speak from the Staple Center Celebration of Life, for her husband and her daughter. Her words stayed with me. It’s one of the big reasons I wanted to write this post. Here are her words . . .
“Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or MVD. He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave.”
But I discovered even more. I didn’t know Kobe stopped watching basketball, or that it took his 13-year-old daughter to bring him back to it. I didn’t know that he’d been coaching Gigi and her team for two years. Parents with daughters, can you imagine an NBA star coaching your girl? I think it says something wonderful about Kobe, and Gigi.
I also discovered Kobe became a partner in a sports academy where he’d coached Gigi. Imagine – inspiring your dad to get back into basketball, to the thing he loved 2nd best. His wife and daughters came first. WOW!
It was the love of his family that got Kobe into helicopters. I heard him talk about it in an interview. He could spend his time waiting in traffic, or, fly home faster. He chose faster. I’d call Kobe an MVFM – Most Valuable Family Man.
Story #3. Did you know Kobe Bryant was a practicing Catholic? I didn’t, until the day he died. That story stayed with me, and I saved it for last.
Kobe lived his faith, every day of his life, including the last one. That Sunday Kobe and Gigi went to early service. They took communion. They didn’t sleep in, skip church, then head off to Gigi’s basketball game.
They put church first and basketball second. Not many people do that. Falling short is easy, like rolling over and going back to sleep. Getting up, keeping the faith is harder.
Kobe wasn’t perfect. He said faith, and his priest, helped him through the hard times. He brought his family to Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach. They became part of the faithful. Here are the words of Vanessa Bryant, and her faith . . .
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together,” said Vanessa, before telling her late husband. “Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, B.B. and Koko. We’re still the best team.”
“May you both rest in peace and have fun in Heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy.”
My Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant
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!