I found Readers’ Favorite in August. Someone on my 12 x 12 writing forum had earned their star, and they were sharing their good news. I decided to check out Readers’ Favorite. You can pay for an express review. That means you get the review within 2-3 weeks, but it doesn’t affect the quality or rating of your review.
Readers’ Favorite also has free reviews, but you are not guaranteed one. Reviewers choose the books they want to do. They look over a list in their favorite genres. They look at the cover, read the description, sometimes a little of the book. Then they make a choice. Half of the submissions are reviewed within 3 months. Some are never reviewed.
I decided to opt for a free review. I sent my submission out August 30th. September came and went. I was busy working on other manuscripts, and I forgot about the review. Then October 14th I received an email from Readers’ Favorite. I was afraid to open it, afraid of what was inside. I knew it would be an honest review. I hoped for a 5, but I’ve been hopeful before and been disappointed. I prepared myself for a 3. Then I opened the email, and this is what I found:
Reviewed By: Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Review Rating: 5 Stars - Congratulations on your 5-star review!
Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite
Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969, had a passion for flying and aeronautical engineering from a very young age. An outing with his father to watch an airplane race in 1932 launched his passion. In 1935 he had his first airplane ride. As a boy, he built one model airplane after another (and a few paper airplanes in between), always looking forward to sending the finished craft zooming across the yard outside his bedroom window, just to see how far it would fly. He worked odd jobs, earning the money to finance his ever-growing fleet of homemade airplanes and to pay for his much-desired flying lessons at the nearby airfield. As a teenager, he researched and designed a wind tunnel, a project that earned him recognition. He graduated from high school in 1947 at sixteen, the youngest graduate at his school. He earned a Holloway scholarship to study aeronautical engineering at Purdue University. Little did anyone know then that this passionately brilliant young man would someday walk on the moon.
I remember that day in 1969. I was twelve. Not usually allowed to watch television during the day, I sat down with my grandmother to watch the historic event on a small ten-inch black and white television. My memories of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon parallels that of author Rinda Beach. A lot has been written about this astronaut’s accomplishments, but what’s interesting is the story Rinda weaves in her book, Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. Written with young readers in mind, the story tells of a young Neil Armstrong and his growing passion for airplanes, flying, and the world beyond the skies. With occasional black and white sketches to parallel the story, the author develops a plot that will appeal to young readers and encourage them to dream big, to never lose sight of one's dreams and to work hard to achieve them. Every famous adult was once a child with a dream. Having fond memories of this historic event fifty years ago, it was a pleasure to read this story and learn more about the man whose passion encouraged all of us to dream big. A wonderful addition to the library of young people’s stories about flying and space travel.
If you’d like to see the review online at Readers’ Favorite, click on this link:
I’m a winner, but I had to buy my own chicken dinner! LOL!
I won 4 books this summer, and this was my 1st win. If you want free books, follow an author’s newsletter, especially the ones that feature brand-new books and contests. Authors want to get publicity. They want you to know their books are out there. They want you to look at them and either buy them or check them out from your local library. Book contests give you attention, but they may/may not bring in sales.
When I won this book, I looked at it, read a page or two, then put it away for later. It never called me back. Then I read an email from the 4th book I won. The author asked me to take pictures of the book, write a review, post it on Amazon and other sites, and finally share it on social media.
I don’t post reviews unless I can give them 4 or 5 stars. All of these books are worthy of those scores. I’ll post their reviews here, and on Amazon too. So, here goes!
Written and Illustrated by Timothy Young
Age Level: 5 – 6
Grade Level: K – 3
UNTITLED is an unusual book because it breaks the 4th wall. If you’re wondering what that is, it means the characters are talking directly to you, the reader. In this story the 2 main characters are trying to work out the title and plot for this book. One’s a coatimundi, and the other’s a capybara. I’m not sure which is which, but one is the largest rodent, and the other is a social raccoon. I didn’t enjoy the book till the middle. That’s when something dangerous and unexpected happened. I love when an author can twist the ending. Without giving it away, I hope the coatimundi and capybara live to tell another tale.
A Wonderful Day!
Written by Michael Samulak
Illustrated by Louise charm Pulvera
Reading Level: Early Reader
This is a simple, easy to read story about a day at the zoo. It’s designed so that you and your child feel like you’re there in the story, meeting each animal at the zoo.
You Can Call Me Katelyn
Written by Keri T. Collins
Illustrated by Marcia Adams Ho
Age Level: 1 - 12
Grade Level: P – 4
Poor Carlee Ashley Myers! She’s hated her first name since the day she was born. Carlee decides she has to change it. She picks a new name and comes up with ways to persuade her family and friends to use it. Katelynn/Carlee is so very clever. She’s actually training the grown-ups to adopt her new name.
I discovered by writing a review, that this book is a great tool. Katelynn can encourage your kids to learn to solve their own problems. She can also model for parents and teachers how you can allow your children to become problem solvers. A kid who can solve problems can go anywhere, do anything! The world is their oyster!
Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves
Written by Lauren H Kerstein
Illustrated by Nate Wragg
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: K – 2
This is a great summer read, but it’s also perfect for indoor pools. Charlie loves his pet dragon, but Rosie has a horrible time with rules. Follow Charlie as he tries to teach Rosie proper pool behavior. Then enjoy kid/dragon fun on every page. Surf’s up for Rosie, Charlie, and You too!
It’s fall now, and time to enter a few more book contests.
Win or lose, it’s fun to try!
Here’s to winners and chicken dinners!
Have you ever been out somewhere, and something caught your eye? You wanted to know more about it, but how? Sunday I ate lunch at Texas Roadhouse. I looked up and found something looking down at me. I thought it was a buffalo.
My husband thought it was either a buffalo or bison, but he wasn’t sure which. Now I was curious. Same animal, or different? There wasn’t a computer in sight, but, I had my phone so I asked it, “What’s the difference between buffalo and bison? I couldn’t believe the answer!
The animal we all know from the Wild Wild West isn’t a buffalo – it’s a bison! Real buffaloes come from Asia and Africa. So what’s the difference? Read the paragraph below. Then test your knowledge.
First look at the head. There are 2 clues. Bison have huge heads. Buffalo have smaller ones. Bison have beards. Buffalo don’t. I read that bison are the cool cows! LOL! I thought that was funny!
Second bison have huge humps for their shoulders. They can use them as snowplows. I could use one this winter – LOL again! Now, can you tell which is which?
#1 and #2 Which is Which? Buffalo or Bison?
#1 is a bison. See the beard, big head, and shoulder hump? It’s a dead give-away! #2 is a buffalo from Asia. See its small head? It’s missing a beard and a hump! A dead give-away! Did you know Asian buffalo have horns that span 6 feet. This one sure looks that wide!
#3 and #4 Which is Which? Buffalo or Bison
#3 is a buffalo. It’s from Kenya, in Africa. Its horns are much smaller than an Asian buffalo, but it’s head is small, and there’s no beard or hump. #4 are American bison. All 3 have big heads, beards, and shoulder humps.
So how did this happen? How did bison get turned into buffalo?
The mix-up started when the first Europeans came over, before Jamestown and the Pilgrims of Plymouth. Think of the explorers in the 1500’s from countries like Spain, Portugal, England, and France.
Those explorers had been to Asia and Africa. They’d seen buffalo there, and they thought they saw them in America too. Now looking at them side by side, it’s easy to see the difference, but those explorers couldn’t. And that’s how buffalo and bison got misnamed.
Google Source: https://www.livescience.com/32115-bison-vs-buffalo-whats-the-difference.html
Google Me That!
Same day, same lunch, I was telling my husband about a movie I’d seen called The Fifth Quarter. The 2011 movie was based on a miraculous college football season from 2006, but I couldn’t remember the name of the college. Guess what – I googled it!
The team – The Wake Forest Deacons. The movie is about what happens when a family loses their 15 year old son in a car accident. They turn a tradgedy into a miracle for the team, for organ donors, and for families who lose their teenagers in car accidents.
Have you ever wondered how your favorite book cover came to be?
Check out this week’s On the Scene blog post with author Jarm Del Bocchio.
She’ll let you in on her cover story.
Meet Russ Cox, the illustrator of THIS COWGRL AIN’T KIDDN’ ABOUT THE POTTY. When I look at the last picture, I can see how much fun he had bringing it to life. I need this book . . . My grandgirl and her Texas parents,will love it . . . once she’s born!
Scroll on down and enter the Back-to-School Giveaway. You still have 3 days left to enter and win. Good luck!
Check out this interview with Milanka Reardon. She arrived in the US at age 6. Read how art helped her learn English. Then take a peek at how she made this book come alive!
Now featuring Dannie Deeptown and Counting Sheep.
Check out our interview with Dannie Deeptown. He’s the perfect illustrator for COUNTING SHEEP. Danny lives deep in the the British countryside where sheep can be found.
Now featuring Claire Sedovic and Odd Animal ABC's
Check out this interview with Claire Sedovic. She made each piece of artwork speak to you.
And check out our Summer Book Releases:
Three Great Picture Books for you!
Check out this interview with Stephanie Fizer Coleman. Every bird in her illustrations counts!
Check out this interview with Gareth Llewhellin. I love how his illustrations gave this book energy!
Before Gareth, Wendy Leach was On the Scene in her interview about illustrating ice cream.
I love how her illustrations brought this book to life!
Before Wendy, we featured Steve Page in his interview about missing pencils.
Check out his interview. I can’t wait to peek inside the book when it comes out!
And the first interview, with Neil Armstrong's illustrator, Cole Roberts.
Batter up! Here’s that first illustrator interview with Cole Roberts.
Thursday Night - I was so tired I didn’t know what to write. I tried and I failed. Sometimes failure is a good thing . . it leads you to something better.
It did! I realized I had something to write about, the SCBWI conference I’m attending this weekend.
I haven’t been to Northern Ohio for three years, since I started going to Midsouth . That’s where I found my critique partners. I attended regional conferences with them for the last two years. But this year, I needed to go home to my writing roots.
This song started playing in my head as I began to type. I remember it from high school, and it gave me a title for this post. I found the video/theme song from the TV show, WELCOME BACK, KOTTER. It’s how I feel about coming back to Cleveland. Enjoy! Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmm3KTa601s
Here’s the 2019 All Star Faculty with four authors, three author/illustrators, two assistant editors, one art director, and two agents. They are out-of-this-world good!
If you want to grow as a writer or an illustrator, this is the place to be! For two whole days you’re with people who love books, who love finding the right words, the right way to tell a story. It’s like finding your tribe. You fit. You belong.
I signed up for one three hour class, two critiques, and four short classes. Best of all three of my favorite authors will divulge their secrets to writing magic.
Friday- An intensive, two stories, and a surprise
This is Tami Sauer. I took an intensive with her. She was my teacher for 3 hours. That’s a long time to sit in a class, but I’d sit all day with her! She is so full of energy and great ideas that it’s easy to stay tuned in!
Her session had 2 parts. The 1st was on finding inspiration. I left with a few new ideas I’d like to map out. I also have some ideas for stories I’m working on now. It’s fun to imagine and reenergize yourself. I can’t wait to get home and get started!
The second half was even better! Tami gave us her ‘Love Notes.’ These are a list of strategies to run your words through. Your first 50 words have to capture an editor or agent’s attention. I think her love notes will help me do that! I have one manuscript that I’ve worked on, polished for 3 years. It’s close, and I’m hoping Tami’s notes will help me close the deal!
This is Rosemary Wells, one of my favorite authors. I started buying her books early in my career. I loved them, and my kids did too. I sat in the front row and listened to her stories about making writing magic. Here are my two favorites.
The first – she told about being a creative kid, the bane of a teacher’s existence. In 4th grade Rosemary had to draw a map of Brazil showing its products. She thought it was boring. Instead she drew fun products that she’d like to buy. Brazil had 1 river. Rosemary drew 10. Not boring! Can you imagine what her teacher said? I can! Something like go back and do the real map!
Rosemary went on to tell about her life as an author/illustrator. She talked about how she listened and followed her editor’s directions. I had to ask – how did you go from rebel to rule follower? Rosemary said, it was her editor. She stayed with the same one for 22 years. Today she still hears that editor in her head. Only 1 adjective, not 2! Write the story your young readers want. You have to have a character that they can understand. Someone their age. It makes sense – if a story doesn’t appeal to kids, it won’t sell, and it won’t be published.
Here’s the surprise! I couldn’t believe it! I was shopping for books in the SCBWI bookstore, and look who I found – me and Neil! I hope I didn’t squeal!
My friend Aileen took this picture. I’m so happy she captured the joy of that moment. I’worked for 12 years to publish my 1st book. I thought I was selling it myself, and that was good, but seeing it in the bookstore – It’s been a dream – to have a book for sale here ever since the first conference I attended. And now, it’s true!
Saturday- Opening, Midday, and Closing Addresses for the Conference
I AM NOT – a morning person, but Pat Cummings’ Opening Address woke my brain and held its attention. The title - Going from “Who Will Let Me?” to “Who Will Stop Me?” I’m a retired teacher, and I love being in control. Ask my family!
It wasn’t boring, AT ALL! Pat taught with stories. My favorite was how as a 5 year old, living in a military neighborhood in Germany, she hopped on a bus with some older girls and went off on an adventure. She landed at a dance school where she whirled and twirled till it was time to hop on the bus again. Attached to her sweater- a note that read ‘Don’t send her back again.” Pat’s take-away – don’t ask. Do! I’m not as brave as Pat, but I’d like to be.
My other favorite story was how she landed her first book. Her editor asked if Pat had any questions. She said no and then found a published friend to ask. Her take-away, you don’t always have to admit what you don’t know. Use your resources, and try your best! Good things will happen, and you’ll learn from your mistakes!
My take-away, everyone has fear, but people like Pat face them and brave their way through. That’s what I did when I self-published Neil. It worked!
The Midday address was by Tricia Lin, an assistant editor at Simon & Schuster. Her topic – First Chapters, Voice and Good Fit: Things an Acquiring Editor Looks For. I was eating so my attention went in and out, but her talk made me feel good about things I’m working on in my writing.
With a chapter book, that first chapter is key. You need to set the scene and get the plot moving on the first paragraph, that first page. If you don’t, editors and agents like Tricia must stop reading. They have piles of new material, and they’re mining it for texts of gold. They look for voice, the part of your writing that is unique to you. You use that voice to keep them reading. You’ve succeeded if they ask for more chapters.
However Tricia also pointed out that writing is a very subjective industry. You have to do your research to find the right editor, the right agent. For example, if someone’s a cat lover, don’t send them a dog story. If they like fantasy, don’t send them nonfiction. It’s great advice, and it makes me feel like I’m on the right track. Eventualy I’ll find my just-right match.
The closing address was by Tami Sauer, the queen of picture books. Her work is golden! It’s full of heart, and it’s funny! She is my writing hero! Her topic – Tami’s Top PB Secrets – REVEALED! They’re her keys to the writing kingdom. I can’t share them. They’re copyrighted to Tami, but if you read her books, you’ll find them.
They’re the same elements Tricia talked about in chapter books, but you only get 400 – 500 words to tell that story. Your first 50 must shine if you want agents/editors to keep reading. Try Tami’s first words! Then finish the book. Her stories are golden! That’s my writing take-away, to work on those first 50 words in 3 manuscripts. Then – keep going!
Tami is also a great speaker. She’s a former preschool teacher, and her speeches are filled with that kind of energy. She even gets audience participation! How? By giving out prizes and tickets for prizes. You participate because you want to win. My take-away, give your audience content, make it fun, then let them win. It works like magic!
Saturday - My Four Class Choices
After Pat Cummings got my brain moving, I went to my first class, Solving the Mysteries of Research to Strengthen Your Fiction and Nonfiction. The title sounds snore-inducing, but Julie is good. I’ve known her since a Mazza class at the University of Findlay in 2011. Mazza is the most fantastic illustration museum, and it’s in Ohio. PLUS Julie made it fun – she added in Nancy Drew! How? Huh?
Julie wrote a book about the author of the first 26 Nancy Drew books – Millie Benson from Toledo, Ohio! Can you believe Nancy was birthed in Ohio? I don’t remember the whole 50 minutes, but I can’t share it anyway. Remember, copyright?
What I do remember is the detailed research that Julie did. She was able to speak to the family, go to Millie’s college. I peeked inside Julie’s book to see how she handled research, and I wished I’d looked before I started working on Neil. There’s so much I didn’t know then, or now. But if wishes were horses, I might win the Kentucky Derby. Probably not, I’d fall off first!
My take-aways – I bought the book so I can look at her research whenever I’m searching for real details. For those of you who know my ant story that I’ve worked on forever, the first time I had it critiqued in 2011, at Northern Ohio’s fall conference, Bruce Hale told me to fine-tune and publish. He also asked if ants had hearts. I said I don’t know. He said, you’ll find out if you want this published. I did! They do, sort of!
The second take-away – I already do! Yay, me! I looked for mentor books for Neil to see how I wanted to write it. At one point I was debating between a picture book, a chapter book, or a graphic novel. I looked at all three and picked the chapter book format. Julie also gave me some new resources to find facts and mentor books. Yay, Julie!
After Julie’s class I headed to my next session, Promoting from Your Heart with Maria Carluccio. Would you believe I wound up buying her book? It’s SO clever. I decided to make it this week’s pick for My Reads.
The best part about meeting Maria, other than buying a book for my grandgirl-to-be, is that she made me feel good about what I’m doing on social media. Maria puts out one Instagram post per day. I do too, when my internet cooperates. Sometimes I get an error message that it isn’t working, and then I forget to post it later.
I also post to Facebook, my personal and business page, plus Twitter and Instagram. It lets you know when I put something new on my web site. I just checked in with its creator, Lisa, another Northern Ohio friend. She said the site was doing well, and she gave me a few ideas to tweak it. YAY! If you want to be a writer or an illustrator, you have to have a thick skin. I don’t, but I love learning what I can do to grow as a writer.
Maria also gave me a few promotional ideas that I can use for future school visits. They involved products that I think teachers and kids will love, but I can’t reveal what they are! If you want to know, invite me in for a school visit. My price, a substitute teacher’s daily salary, in either dollars or book sales. It’s a good deal for everyone, especially young writers!
After lunch, Megan talked about Nonfiction for Young Readers. She shared some great picture books that were all well researched and written, but they had a hook, something that made you want to open the book and learn something new.
For older readers Megan recommended reading Steve Sheinkin’s books. She shared a few passages from BORN TO FLY, his next book. Steve researched and wrote about women like Amelia Earhart who flew across America in the 1929 Air Derby. He showed how each one learned to fly. The detail was incredible! If Steve couldn’t prove it happened or was said, he had to leave it out. That’s the difference between nonfiction and historical fiction, research determines what’s in the story. I bought this book so I can learn from Steve.
My last class was with Michael Armstrong, Putting Together a Marketing Plan for your New Book. Mike understands marketing; I don’t. He started by talking about WHAT a marketing plan is in the book world. I’m happy to see I’ve done some of those things already.
Mike shared a sample plan to market his debut book in 2020. Everyone got a paper copy. When I look at it, I see things I can do now to promote Neil. I see steps to take as I work on the next book that’s coming out in May of 2020. I’m glad I have Mike’s plan to help me move forward as a writer and as a publisher.
Two critiques and an autograph session
The main reason I attend SCBWI conferences is for the critiques, for the chance to have talented writers look at my work and help me improve it. There are a couple of writers in Northwest Ohio, but no editors, or agents.
I registered for two critiques back in July. One face-to-face, the other written-only. By early August I decided to send one manuscript to Angie, and a different one to Tami. I got my two critiques at the end of the conference. I was exhausted so I took a quick look and headed home. I can’t tell you specifics, but here are the areas Angie and Tami commented on:
Positive aspects Elements require attention and improvement
Character development Plot and Structure
Language and diction Voice
Marketability Next steps
Additional comments Line comments within the manuscript itself
Both manuscripts have been through multiple critiques. I worked on the one for Tami for three years. I spent two years on the one for Angie. I brought them to Cleveland to get fresh professional eyes on them. The advice from Angie and Tami was priceless.
My next step - to go through their comments and work them into the story. Then I’ll polish it and begin the critique process again with my critique groups.
And the finale . . . I was part of the autograph session! Me, autographing books at the SCBWI conference with authors like Rosemary Wells and Tami Sauer! It’s great to enjoy this moment after 12 years of work.
Now, back to life, back to reality! Time to go home to Wapak to edit and prep another book to self-publish. My goal is to have it ready by May of 2020.
It’s also time to edit, polish, and submit the manuscript that Tami critiqued to a traditional publisher. I have two other manuscripts that I’m polishing for traditional publishing too. Finally, it’s time to look for the next book to self-publish a year from now, in September of 2020.
I’m glad Aileen took this picture. Cheers!
First up: A Giveaway
Need a few good books? Here’s a great collection of AUTOGRAPHED children’s books from the On the Scene Team, and I’m so proud that Neil is represented! Just click on the link , follow the directions, and you'll be on your way! GOOD LUCK FROM THE ON THE SCENE TEAM!
Two Great Picture Books
The Pencil Eater hunts for tasty treats but encounters obstacles along the way. Frustrated by his efforts, he visits an elementary school, where a whole new set of problems await.
So cute! Kids and teachers will LOVE this book! We’ll finally discover what happened to all those missing pencils!
In this unique pup story, Lottie makes an unusual discovery while beachcombing one day. She then spends her day wondering, Who will care for this little lost pup? and asking, “Will you care for this little lost pup?” But she finds that it will take a special person to care for this very special pup. Who Will? Will You? keeps readers guessing exactly what kind of pup Lottie has found, as they learn about different pups along the way. Includes fun animal facts for a pup-tastic good time!
Everyone loves a dog story, especially one with a happy ending!
One Chapter Book
Neil Alden Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Most people know that story, but very few know how Neil’s teen-age dream to build a wind tunnel helped him walk into history.
Read how Neil’s love of planes took him from the Cleveland air races to the
Wright Brother’s wind tunnel. Read on to discover how at sixteen he made his first
dreams come true.
If you like STEM activities, check out the back matter and my favorite science site – Instructables.com. PLUS win an autographed copy of my book!
One Middle Grade Chapter Book
Giant scorpions, evil gods, and one intimidating princess—ancient Egypt is nothing like Jagger Jones expected. In order to get his sister, Aria, home safe, Jagger—a thirteen-year-old whiz kid from Chicago’s South Side—must defeat the evil general. Armed only with his knowledge of history and a few modern objects mined from Aria’s sparkly purse, the siblings have exactly one week to solve supernatural riddles and rescue the royal family.
Time travel to ancient Egypt? Count me in, especially with author and PhD Egyptologist Malayna Evans guiding the way!
Don’t forget . . . Just click on the link every day, follow the directions, and maybe the odds will be in your favor!
GOOD LUCK FROM THE ON THE SCENE TEAM!
Next Up: An Interview and a Pair of Podcasts
Journey to Kid Lit
From Unpublished to Self-Published: How to Self-Publish a Book with Rinda Beach
An Interview by Brooke Van Sickle
I am so excited to share my interview with Brooke Van Sickle. Self-publishing is a journey! Here’s the link to our July 9th interview: https://journeytokidlit.com/from-unpublished-to-self-published-with-rinda-beach/?fbclid=IwAR04L3CZDIKRYM8tDfNpQuGsOt3E-qoreCpVXhcPxcxAcm48DA2TOd0EHDo
Writing about Neil Armstrong
A Podcast by Connie B. Dowell
Connie, thank you for the opportunity to talk about my writing journey and publishing NEIL ARMSTRONG'S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
Here’s the link from her July 17 broadcast: http://bookechoes.com/2019/07/17/writing-about-neil-armstrong-with-rinda-beach/?fbclid=IwAR0N1I6sO5lMKdTwxlqfjfjpSuBguGmUtBRKzfNvmD73UXCAI9YmIHKU6_c#comment-18541
Reading with Your Kids . . . Celebrating Young Neil Armstrong
A Podcast by Jed Doherty
Jed wrote . . . Most people know Neil Armstrong as the first human to step foot on the Moon. Rinda Beach is on the podcast to reveal that his journey to the Moon started with a dream to build his own wind tunnel. Most people know Neil Armstrong as the first human to step foot on the Moon. Rinda Beach is on the podcast to reveal that his journey to the Moon started with a dream to build his own wind tunnel. Here’s the link to our August 18th interview: http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/0/d/2/0d29af574264aca3/Rinda_Beach.mp3?c_id=49042928&cs_id=49042928&expiration=1567996106&hwt=935c7f117e9562f77f70814ce43b63ac
Now Showing: Boomer is on the Scene!
Vanessa wrote an acrostic poem to celebrate her debut book. If you’re not sure what that is, click below and read her poem.
Scroll farther down to enter the Back-to-School Giveaway. Click and enter to win. Good luck!
Here’s my acrostic ode to Neil Armstrong – thanks to Vanessa’s inspiration!
Neil loved airplanes.
Every day he worked to build better ones.
If he failed, he didn’t quit. He
Looked and looked till he built a better plane.
Last, but not least! An Update from 9/6/19
Last month I got an email from Jo in New Zealand. She liked my post about working dogs and asked if I would put her link in it.
I checked her post and loved the article about 6 popular dog sports. I learned something new, and I thought you might too. I was also flattered to get Jo’s email. Here’s her link. I hope you’ll check it out.
Here’s my original link for working dogs, including the new update. http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/working-dogs
PS – I think I’d like to do a post about sporting dogs, and Jo’s link is the perfect place to start!
This is not a summary of Elizabeth’s book. I jotted notes as I read. I turned them into a top ten list.The words that are bolded are what Elizabeth said about writing. My reaction is in regular font.
10 - Writing should be a vocation. I never planned to be a writer. I grew into it. For the last ten years of my teaching career, I wrote a newsletter each week for my parents. I got used to writing and editing. I like doing it. It fits me!
9 - Make sure you write for something beyond money. Enjoy your words, your story! I’m lucky I don’t need to write for money. I already had a job and earned a retirement. I’m happy to write just for the pure joy of it. Last night I couldn’t write this newsletter. Tonight it’s easy-peasy, AND it’s fun!
8 – Don’t look to others to find success/failure. I could be sad about getting a late start, but 2007 was the right time for me. Two of my kids were in high school, and the other was in college. Writing was easier with older kids, but I only wrote on weekends. Teaching was enough during the week. It’s so much easier to write now that I’m retired.
7 – Writing doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’ve learned over time that your best has to be good enough. It’s ALL you have to give! My middle school English teacher found 4 mistakes in February. I was finished, and I’d done my best, but when I looked at her comments, I changed 3 of them. They were easy fixes that made the story better. I didn’t change the last one. It added extra words to the story. Extra words are usually not a good thing.
6 – You have to be persistent. I am! I have been writing since 2007, without a single published book. I didn’t quit, and now I’ve done it! I self-published my first book!
5 – If you spend over 10 years at your craft, it equals a PhD. I believe this! Practice makes perfect. It helps you do your best! Each year
over the last 12 years, I’ve grown as a writer. Last year I learned even more from writing and self-publishing Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream.
4 – Don’t spend a fortune on a writing degree. Elizabeth said other writers should be your teachers. For 12 years SCBWI conference speakers, other writers, and children’s books have been my teachers. I listed 16 writing friends on my acknowledgement page. They helped me put my best words into Neil.
3- Other writers are great advisors. A year ago I said I’d stop writing when I was 65 if I wasn’t published. Did you know Laura Ingalls Wilder
was 65 when she published her first book? I changed my mind when another writer said what if. What if you’re still having fun? What if you go another month and you publish that first book? I listened and took her advice. Now I don’t have to worry – I’m 60, and I published that first book with 5 years to spare! YAY!
2 - There are magic ideas and ordinary ones. I’ve written other stories that are still sitting in my computer. They were good solid ideas, but Neil was magic! I hit hurdle after hurdle, but something kept me going. In November I quit when I lost my third illustrator. The next day a book club gave me 3 names and pushed me forward again. That’s when I found Cole. This story about Neil was meant to be, and I was meant to publish it. I know, BIG MAGIC!
1 - Writing is Magic! There was something about Neil! I’ve never said goodbye to a story, to a character before. This time I did. I remember the last edit I made on Neil. I felt like crying. I realized I was losing a friend! Writing Magic is the only way I could ever become friends with Neil Armstrong. He died in 2012. I got to know him as a person, as a character, and I’m grateful. I hope you read our story and find your own reading magic!
Follow along as I paint a footprint on the moon. This is what I wanted my painting to look like, like my teacher Melanie Sunderland Fullenkamp.
This is how I started, with a blank canvas. Then I added black and gray. I made my own shade of gray by mixing black and white together.
Next I added in texture with moon rocks in shades of gray, gray-blue, white, and black. I painted in an earth with a white base.
Then I added a blue-gray edge to the moon. I swirled blue and green to color the earth. Finally I started working on the footprint in shades of gray. Then I added light with white, and shadow with black.
I finished off with lettering in silver and gold. It wound up better than I thought, but I was still not happy. Up close I can see the footprint, but not farther back.
This is my final version. I didn’t have paint at home so I used my black sharpie to outline the footprint. It’s not perfect, but it’s better, and I have a unique souvenir to remember this 50th anniversary. That, and my book about Neil and his wind tunnel dream.
Have you ever seen thumbnails? Not the ones on your hands, the ones for a book. A thumbnail is a sketch, a plan for the illustrations, and they WILL change.
Here are the first illustrations Cole sent. They’re in red. I thought they’d be in black. Cole sent them as an email PDF. I opened them and told Cole what I thought,
PDF’s don’t work on Weebly so I printed them out, first in the original red, then in black. I took photos so I could share them with you.
Take a look – did you notice the first two are clearer than the rest? The reason? Cole wanted a firm idea on how to start the book. With the others, a quick sketch was all he needed.
Chapter 1: Neil’s throwing a model airplane out the 2nd floor window. It’s what he did when he wanted to get rid of a few model airplanes.
Chapter 2: No characters! Cole suggested using a notebook with sketches of the materials Neil used for his wind tunnel.
Chapter 3: The drawings are sketchier so I checked in with Cole on what I was seeing. In this one Neil was imagining how he’d put the tunnel together
Chapter 4: Cole drew the inside of the wind tunnel. It’s the only illustration I questioned. As a teacher, I thought kids would see this as a fun geometric shape, instead of as a model airplane hanging inside the wind tunnel.
Chapter 5: Neil finally showed Mom his finished wind tunnel. Unfortunately it blew Mom’s robe loose and smash-crashed the model airplane through the window.
Chapter 6: Neil told Mom about his scholarship to Purdue AND getting to fly Navy fighter jets. Mom was so shocked that she dropped a jam jar on her foot.
Stay tuned! Cole worked through 5 more sets of illustrations before the illustrations were done.
It’s been a week of interviews! Monday Cole’s came out, and today I woke to find this one up for me. I talked to Brooke Van Sickle way back in late April, and she sent the questions then, but I had to put everything on hold till I reached a permission agreement with Purdue. I finally finished off the interview a week or two ago, and today Brooke emailed to say it’s live.
If you’d like to learn about the ins and outs of self-publishing, click on the link below!
Meet my illustrator, Cole Roberts. He’s the first illustrator to be interviewed for our Blog. Congratulations, Cole!
This is where Cole makes magic, where he made a young Neil Armstrong come to life.
Neil and I would like to say thank you, Cole! We also hope you’ll check out Cole's interview.
Please check out our book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you’ve already read it and liked it, please consider sharing an honest review on either site. We're up to 10 . . . YAY! Did you know the more reviews a book has, the more searchable/find-able it is? My next goal . . . 15.
Here's my book link WITH a free coloring sheet for you. I hope you'll check it out!
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!