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.
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!
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.
Part 1 – The Two Hardest Ones
There are two things that are super hard for me to write – first drafts and the business posts on my blog.
First drafts are easy to explain. Duh! It’s hard to figure out what to write on a blank page. I started thinking about the Zoo Scavenger Hunt in December. Last week I finally wrote the first words.
What was I doing for 2 months? Figuring out what to write! I had the idea, but I needed more. I had to design a plot with a problem, 3 tries, and a happy ending. That doesn’t sound so hard, but it is!
I also spent time researching the zoo. I googled information and watched videos. I even went to the zoo, and I took tons of pictures. Some were of the animals, but I made sure I took lots of pictures of their homes. I need to be able to picture both to write this story.
I did all that . . . Then I could finally write chapter 1. I haven’t started chapter 2 – I need to figure out what the inciting incident will be and how to head toward the first try. Stayed tuned!
Business posts for my blog are also hard, unless I have a book coming out. Then I have lots to say. I’m doing events and reporting them to you. That’s easy!
But when there’s no book, it’s HARD! I have to think of something. There’s nothing worse than a blank page.
I have to stop, go back, and think about what I’m doing to move forward as a writer. It also has to be something new. Duh! I can’t write the same thing over and over again!
Part 2 – Part 2 – My Obstacles and How I Overcome Them
When I write a post, I start with images, enough to write 2 or 3 parts. I picked these 6 before writing a single word. They each represent one of my blocks.
This is one of the worst ones . . . Ideas can be like eggs. Do you see the chick inside? It has to fight its way out one peck at a time. It’s hard work! Chicks look exhausted when they’re done. Sometimes I do too.
With a post, I start with images, but I struggle with how to explain them. It’s like taking peck after peck at that shell, but it won’t crack. It’s frustrating! I keep pecking, trying to find that daylight. Eventually I do. I tap and tap until I find the way out.
Have you ever started with an idea, rejected it, and thrown it away? This is how people used to do it, by crumbling up paper. It is so satisfying!
It’s almost the same on the computer. I write something, delete it, and try, try again. It’s frustrating to be stuck, unable to move forward.
I’ve learned to stop deleting. Now I add space between the obstacle and what I want to delete.
I pull that passage back up again and again, or I retype it. Eventually I find the right way over the obstacle, or a new and better idea comes through. There’s something about that space that helps me push through.
Sometimes, I just get lost in ideas. I lose my bearings, and I feel like I can’t write my way out of a paper bag.
One of the best ways to find your way is to retrace your steps. Go backwards in time, step by step. Usually you find your way.
When I’m writing, I go back and read over what I’ve written. Usually I can pick up the thread and find my way into the next sentence. If that doesn’t work, I jot down ideas for what might come next. That works too.
Sometimes I just take a break. This is me at the lake. I always sit in a comfy chair, in a room with a view. When I get stuck, I look out the window. Other times I need to get up and do something else. Taking a break helps me move on.
My best advice – don’t let the obstacles throw you. Listen to your words and to yourself. You’ll figure out how to move past those blocks.
Part 1: The Back Story Behind this Post
This is me, teaching during a school visit. I miss it! With Covid I sheltered in place because of my age and Type 2 Diabetes. I hope my Covid vaccine is coming soon . . . I want to get back out there again.
I didn’t write this post – Janet Campbell from Elderspark did. She said it’s not what she usually writes,. It’s also very different from her last post when she wrote about how long distance health caregivers can keep tabs on their loved ones.
Janet picked this because she thought it would be a good fit for me. It is! I was called to teach. I still am, whether I’m subbing or writing. I’m always first and last, a teacher.
Part 2 – Janet’s Campbell’s Call to Teach
If you’re looking for a career where you make a significant difference in thousands of lives, teaching might be the right path for you. Teachers help children, teens, and young adults learn information, yes, but they also teach them kindness, perseverance, and self-confidence. It’s a career that comes with a lot of responsibility, as well as the potential to change more lives than you may ever fully realize.
With 33 years of teaching experience, Rinda Beach knows just how deeply rewarding this career can be. However, many people who consider teaching aren’t entirely sure what the process is or how to get started. This guide is designed to help you figure out your first steps and get started on the path toward teaching. Here’s all the information you need to begin your journey.
Part 3 - Learning to Teach
For the vast majority of people, your first step is going to be earning some sort of teaching degree. Different states have different requirements, and all require a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license in order to be a full-time teacher. In many, you may even need to earn a master’s degree, as well.
When it comes to earning your master’s degree, you should search for a school that can meet your educational needs with respect to your daily life. For example, many schools offer evening classes in order to make studying possible for people with full-time jobs. Online degree programs, particularly asynchronous ones, are also a great fit for those with already-busy schedules since they allow you to study on your own time. This can also open up your options if you don’t happen to live near a university that offers the degree you’re pursuing.
Part 4: Testing The Waters
If you’re not entirely confident you want to become a teacher yet, there are several ways you can test the waters without committing to earning a degree. For example, many states only require a bachelor’s degree in order to work as a substitute teacher. This can give you a feel for what it’s like to manage a classroom, as well as help you figure out which age range you’re interested in working with.
You can also test the waters by volunteering as an after-school tutor. Many schools have programs designed to help underachieving students bridge the gap and learn how to excel in the classroom. Not only will this type of work give you practice teaching, but it will also help you develop the skills necessary to help when students are struggling. This can be a difficult challenge for teachers who are just starting off, so if you have this experience under your belt beforehand, you’ll have a distinct advantage.
Part 5: Finding Work
Once you have your degree, you’ll need to look toward finding work. Although there are almost always teaching opportunities out there, you’ll find that some age ranges and subjects are trickier to place than others. For example, a general middle school teacher is likely to have an easier time finding a job than a high school classics teacher.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t pick a specific subject if that’s what you’re interested in, but you should know the pros and cons. For example, although those jobs can be a little harder to find, you can also potentially navigate for a better salary when those roles do appear.
Regardless of your subject or age range, the easiest way to find a role as a teacher is to be open to opportunities, even if they aren’t your ideal role. For example, many teachers are resistant to working in rural or underprivileged communities. However, these areas are often the most in need of good teachers, so if you rule that out, you might be ruling out some of your best bets for a job.
Stay open, and remember — if it’s not the right fit, you can always look for something else. With time, you’ll find the perfect fit and have the teaching career you’ve been dreaming of!
For more insights on teaching, writing, books, and more, visit Rinda Beach’s blog.
Part 1 – Going Live on a Podcast
I can’t believe I went live today at 3PM (London Time). I never thought I’d be doing anything in the UK, let alone live!
I was on the Author’s Voice with Kala Williams. She sent me 5 questions before Sunday’s taping on January 23rd. It took about 30 minutes, but they cut it down to 16.5 to keep it short and sweet for busy teachers.
I imagined how I’d answer, but I never thought about how to keep them short. No worries! Kala kept me on track with her secret signal. Sorry! I can’t reveal it, but it helped me wrap things up when I went too long.
If you’d like to see The Author’s Voice screenshot below, click on this link:
The Author's Voice - YouTube
If you only want to listen to My Voice, click this one:
Read Aloud & Book Talk with Rinda Beach - YouTube
The Author’s Voice also has its own Facebook page. Here’s a screenshot.
I love the name READMASTER! It’s what I wanted my 2nd graders to be – reading masters!
I’m retired now, but I want to write stories that help kids become reading masters too.
READMASTER and Bright I’s Education Consultancy had 3 different posts up for me today.
Here’s the first one, announcing that I’d be on at 3PM London time.
What an opportunity! To have teachers and kids in the UK take a peek at my books!
Here’s the second announcement to let teachers know when to watch the video. Teachers are busy people. I’m glad they had another chance to find me and my three books. The third one said I was live, AND, it gave teachers links to find me, to find the things they could use. I’ve been retired for 5 years, but I still love finding easy buttons and links!
PS - If you’re reading this in the US, don’t use the Amazon Purchase Link – It’s for the UK!
My favorite link is the Cheeky jump ahead to the Read Aloud. ‘Cheeky,’ that’s definitely a British word. If you click on it, you can hear me read one of my favorite pages. It’s about Zoe, her brother Nick, and a lizard. If you’d like to listen, it’s the first one. The other links are from this side of the pond, from Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Cheeky Jump: Read Aloud & Book Talk with Rinda Beach - YouTube
My Purchase Link: Zoe's Scavenger Hunt Fun - Rinda Beach
Follow me on Instagram: Rinda Beach (@rindajbeach) • Instagram photos and videos
Virtual Visits: Rinda Beach | Facebook
Bonus Book Resources: Rinda Beach - Rinda Beach
Part 2 – Zoe and I are Front Page News!
Extra! Extra! Zoe and I are on the front page of the Wapakoneta Daily News! I’m below Jim Jordan and the anti-solar group. I’m beside the story on the Ammunition shortage. My headline – Local Author pens 3rd book. We’re also on the 2nd page, at the bottom.. I used the whole newspaper page so I could preserve this memory.
Part 3 – Phone Calls and Camera Shots
Newspaper articles usually start with an interview. Mine did! Alex Guerrero called and asked to talk to me. He asked questions about me and my book, about being a writer, the things that he thought his readers would want to know.
He also told them where they could find my books, at Riverside Art Center here in Wapak, on my website Rinda Beach - Rinda Beach , and on Amazon. It took about 25 minutes for him to gather the information he needed.
The photo shoot was even shorter. I met Alex at Riverside where he took 2 sets of shots. One with me and my 3 books. The other with me and Zoe. That’s the one he picked for the front page. Alex was done in 5 minutes flat!
Part 4 – A Couple of Lovely Surprises!
Here are 2 hints! Can you guess what I found in my inbox yesterday?
Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun got 5 Stars from Readers’ Favorite, and it only took 12 days to get it. That’s amazing!
It took a couple months for Neil to get its 5-star review, and Lake Fun never got one – at all. To get reviewed, one of their reviewers has to pick your book. I waited 3 months, but no one was interested. I could have resubmitted it, but by that time Zoe was in the works so I let Lake Fun go.
Click on the link below, and you’ll find yourself at Readers’ Favorite. If you search ‘Rinda Beach,’ this is what you’ll see. Link: Readers' Favorite: Book Reviews and Award Contest
I tried it and found this – I was surprised. And thrilled to discover two of my books are 5 Star Favorites! WAHOO! In the words of this song title by Meatloaf, “two out of three ain’t bad.” I agree!
You can only read the first 4 lines of the review on this page, but don’t worry! The full review’s below. I’m so grateful to Emily-Jane Hills Orford. She picked my book and gave it a great review.
Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The Roberts family is off to Norris Lake for some summer fun. Every year, Mom creates a challenging scavenger hunt for the three children. It encourages young people to have fun at the lake while still working on different skills, like math and map reading. Zoe’s the youngest; she’s never won the scavenger hunt. Now that’s she’s in grade 3, she’s determined to win. But her older siblings are so much better at so many things. Can she really beat them at the annual Roberts’ Family Scavenger Hunt Fun?
Rinda Beach’s early chapter book, Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun: A Lake Vacation Activity Book, takes the young reader on a journey to a summer cottage on Norris Lake. They follow young Zoe’s adventures as she improves her map-reading skills, becomes more observant of the natural life around her, tries different dives into the lake, and manages to swim deeper than her older siblings. As Zoe plows her way through her mother’s scavenger hunt questions, recording each answer as she completes the challenge, the plot thickens and the young reader will be cheering her on. At the end of the vacation, Dad tallies the points earned by each child. It’s a tense moment. Who wins? And will there be another challenge next year? At the end of the book, the author provides the young reader with the opportunity to record their own scavenger hunt, complete with challenging questions and activities. A great interactive learning tool – summer fun can be learning fun as well.
This was the second surprise! My friend Linda commented on my Facebook post about the Wapak paper. She told me I was in the Lima News too. SURPRISE!! I didn’t know they’d written anything about me.
I asked her to send it to me, and look what I found on Messenger this morning. It’s a small article, but it’s hard to get into the Lima News. All three of my kids have been in the Wapak paper, but only one has been in the Lima News.
The headline – Author appearance planned in Wapak. That’s the Galentine Sip & Shop event. I’ll be at Riverside Art Center from 6-8 to chat, sell, and autograph my books. I’ll have presale slips for people who want to get Zoe right away. She comes out March 9th. I can’t believe it’s almost here!
Riverside is also doing a few raffles for a local charity. I’m donating a set of autographed copies of my three books. I hope I sell some tickets!
Part 1 – I Receive an Email
My friend Rochelle messaged me this summer. I asked her to work on my Neil Armstrong book, but it didn’t work out for us back in 2018. We were both disappointed.
Rochelle is an artist. She specializes in painting animals, and her work is gorgeous! I think the idea of putting her art into a picture book got her thinking. This time she asked me about working together. She suggested an animal book, and I thought why not!
Part 2 – Brainstorming Animal Ideas
I started thinking animals. I thought about real animals and fictional ones. Then I started thinking about the places animals lived and the kinds of adventures they got into.
I thought about farm animals, like this herd of sheep. They’re cute, but I’m a city girl. I know very little about farm animals and the kinds of problems they might have so I moved onto another setting.
I thought about my pets. I’ve had dogs, a cat, a gerbil, and fish as a kid, and later as an adult. But none of those pets inspired a story. I have a manuscript about my best friend , my dog Leia. I want to see it through before I move on.
Then – I hit pay dirt!
Part 3 – Inspiration Found – At the Zoo!
I didn’t think zoo right away, but the longer I thought, the more I liked it. You can find zoo animals that come from all over the world.
It’s easy to look up the animals on search engines. You can find facts and figures, photos and videos. I found these two photos when I was searching for images for this post.
I had a place, the zoo, but now I needed a way into the story, a problem. I started thinking about the ones that real zoo animals face. Then I thought about my own experiences at the zoo.
That’s when inspiration struck! Did you know what it is? No? Here’s a clue . . . Have you ever gone to the zoo and had trouble finding the animals? I have!
Idea #1 – Did you guess – Hide and Seek? I thought it was brilliant! Remember how the animals hid from me? I thought I could turn that idea into a book. I started with 13, but my critique group said too many. They also said I needed a thread, a theme, to run through it.
Gradually I pulled myself down to 4 animals, and I had the first act written. It wasn’t perfect but 3 rounds of critiques made it way better. That’s when I hit a wall – the agent audition challenge. There was no way I could finish my zoo story by February, and perfect three others. Good writing takes time!
I saved it, in my computer. When the challenge is over, I’ll open it and work on it again. Soon, I hope. Sometimes stories demand attention, and this one feels like it’s receding into the background.
Idea #2 – Can you guess what it is? It’s a scavenger hunt for kids who visit the zoo.
I got the idea from LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME. A critique partner suggested turning it into a series, but I forgot all about it when the book flopped.
Now ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN is ready to come out. Look to the left. It’s a sneak peak of the hunt in my new book. The Mom in this story is like me – She wants to get her kids out enjoying the lake and all the fun it offers. She also wants to give them a chance to draw and write about it.
I tossed around the idea of taking Zoe and her family to the zoo. Then I decided to pitch it to Brooke at BiblioKid. She liked it! She said write a draft, and then we’ll look it over.
Guess what I’ve been working on since December – Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt at the Zoo! I started with the questions. Then I picked my animals, outlined the chapters, but I’m still not ready to write . . .
That’s because I’m doing animal research on the internet, and at the zoo. I visited the one in Cincinnati and took tons of pictures of animals in their habitats. I have to be able to picture them, to write about them.
This was one of my favorite animals at the zoo. He’s a poison dart frog, and he’s part of both stories. I’m halfway through the research. That means I’m edging closer to writing. I’m beginning to picture the story. Soon the words will come, then the editing. I’ll fill you in when I get there.
I’m lucky! I had four Facebook/Instagram friends who reached out to let me know something was wrong. I only know one of them personally, but I’m so grateful that all four of them saw, and then said something.
Here’s my story, just in case it happens to you. I would never have believed this could be true. I’m a retired teacher/writer from a small town in Ohio.
Part 1 – Two Cautionary Notes
This all started on October 16th, but I couldn’t find that message. I found this one from Karen on the 29th . . . Hi. I’m a friend of yours on FB, and I got a strange message from you on Instagram. Was it really you, or a fake you?
I answered back that I’d check. I did – no message, let alone a strange one. I asked for more information. She answered . . .
‘They’ sent a message to me today through Instagram. I am following you now twice. One account has 74 followers and no posts, which is the fake one. The other one, using your same photo, has posts.
I replied that I’d change my password again, like I did on the 16th. I thanked her again, and I hoped this was over, but it wasn’t.
On October 31st I got this message from Linda . . . Hi – Have you been contacting me via Instagram? I just want to double check that this is really you.
I apologized and said it wasn’t. I told her I’d changed my password twice already. That I was trying to figure out how to clean up this mess.
Linda wrote back . . . No worries. I just wondered because the messages are just a little off. Just now I got one asking if I know about some kind of domestic assistance grants. I’m going to block you for now, because I honestly think it’s a foreign bot. Will you contact me . . . when it’s resolved?
I couldn’t believe it! Domestic assistance grants? Foreign bots? I felt like I was in a spy movie. That’s when help arrived!
Part 2 – Help is on the Way
I messaged that night, the 31st . . . Linda, how did they get my name on IG? I just had a kiddo (I had her sister in school) who contacted me. I looked up my address and only found me. Do you have the address they were using? I want to get this cleared up, and you just can’t talk to IG. YUCK!
I’d forgotten – I messaged IG twice, and got no response. But I got this from the kiddo, AKA My Hero, on FACEBOOK . . . RINDA! Get on your Instagram if you’re able. Someone is impersonating you and trying to push “grant information.” I’ve sent you several messages with what they sent me and asked my Grandma to reach out to you as well.
Her Grandmother wrote . . . Jessica just called me and said she has been getting messages from you on Instagram about federal grants. She thinks your account has been hacked.
Wow! Jessica went above and beyond a friend! She called her grandmother who was one of my teaching buddies.
These are the original messages from Jessica. I can read the first line – RINDA URGENT! And the second – Someone is pretending to be you! The rest of both screen shots are what the ‘fake rinda’ wrote. I would NEVER write either of those messages. Sorry, if they’re a little fuzzy.
Jessica’s explanation of how they did it (extra j in the middle) is on the bottom right. She also said she flagged it but Instagram did NOTHING, even though I’d already filled out 2 reports. You’d think they would have pulled down the fake rinda. They didn’t.
This set of messages came up after Jessica’s grandmother finally got my attention. I’m so glad I could ask Jessica. You can tell – I had no idea what I was doing.
The funny thing that I learned from later messages – I couldn’t search and find this fake me, the one with the extra j in the middle. Jessica said they must have blocked me.
I did another report about THAT, but I didn’t hear anything from Instagram. NOTHING. Jessica flagged the fake account again, and Instagram didn’t respond to her either. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I have a writing friend whose web site has been blocked by Facebook for a year. A YEAR, and she’s a retired Kindergarten teacher.
Part 3 – Solving My Own Problem
It’s now January, 2021, and Instagram never got back to me – I really don’t know if the fake me is gone. The last time I checked with Jessica was on October 31st. She pulled down her flag, and the fake me was still there. She flagged them again, and suggested that I report again. I did, but I have yet to hear anything from Instagram. It’s not a surprise – the only 2 social media sites that respond to me are Pinterest and Weebly.
The only proof I have that fake me isn’t operating - no one has messaged me about grants or strange messages since October.
I didn’t rely on reports to Instagram. I put up my own post with an image that reminds me of Darth Vader. I added a message that I was hacked on Facebook, my Facebook business page, Instagram, and Twitter. Here’s a copy of that post . . .
Someone hacked me on IG so if you get a weird message from what looks like me, it's not. I only message people I know personally, and I don't do anything with grants.
My friend Jessica said - flag that weird account, and let me know. I'll keep reporting until this person leaves my account alone.
I’m glad I did! Here are my stats – I reached 11 people on my Facebook business page, 3 on my personal page, 16 on Instagram, and 0 on Twitter. Those are the ones that I know of. I wonder how many took a look and then scrolled on down.
Instagram is where I had the biggest response, 16. I also had 2 people who commented on my post.
One wrote . . . I received a strange message as well. Sorry that happened to you.
Another wrote . . . Yeah, I got that message. Maybe that’s who hacked me.
Part 4 – IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING
That’s what four people did for me. I only know one of them personally. It only took a few minutes, but the other three made a huge difference in my business. The squeaky wheel gets oiled.
I left a reporting trail. I don’t know if it made any difference, but at least it’s there. My conscience is at peace because I tried to do the right thing.
If I’m ever in the shoes of those friends who helped me, I’ll do what they did. If I see something off, I’ll say something. I’ll message them on a different account like Linda and Karen did. They saw the fake messages on Instagram, but they contacted me on Facebook. I so appreciated them and their help!
I’ll also do what Jessica did – I’ll flag the account and send in a report. Unfortunately, I don’t know the grandmothers of most of my friends, but I’d call them if I did 😊
Looking back the best thing I did was putting my message out on social media. I know there were at least 30 people who heard my story, and two of them were touched enough to write on Instagram. That’s where the original fake account originated from.
So if you’re ever in my shoes and you’re hacked, or you see something that’s not quite right, I hope you’ll take my advice – See something, say something.
I haven’t written about the audition since mid-November, but I’ve been steadily working on it. I have four stories to get agent ready by February. Here’s the link for where I was back then . . . Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
And now – here’s what my stories and I have been doing since November . . .
1. The DUCK STORY went through 3 rounds of critiques and revisions. I almost sent if off for a 4th, but I spent Christmas with my Texas kids. Tomorrow I’m back to the lake and back to work. Job #1 is to finish those ducks and send them off by Friday.
It’s amazing to go through this process, to see elements of my original story in this new edition, and to see how the changes improve the plot and the characters.
Drake is now Liam, but it’s a deeper change than just a name. Liam drives the action. He thinks harder, finds better ideas when the ducks challenge him. And the ducks, they’re harder to beat.
The other HUGE change links Liam’s duck struggles to his sisters. The metaphor deepens the plot. I can’t wait to send this manuscript back to Lynne Marie, the Picture Book Mechanic, to see what else she suggests. She pushed me, pushed this story, and we’re better because of it.
2. My Safety Story went through 2 rounds of critiques and revisions, so far. The first round started by cutting one scene. It was easy! That means it was fat, not muscle – that’s what I call essential/nonessential parts of a story. I made the changes and sent it off to Lynne Marie.
She liked the bones of the story and the character names, but Lynne Marie thought I should change the setting for the first scene. I had to think, hard, on how to make it happen. In fact, I did it last. I started with the easiest changes and moved towards the hardest ones.
When the changes were done, I listened to the story over and over again. Usually I do 3 sets of 3 listening/editing rounds, per story, per day. I do that for at least 3 days before I even consider sending it off for a critique. (Yes, I have a thing about 3’s!) Then I sent it off to Lynne Marie. She sent it back a couple days before Christmas. I saved it, and I’ll look at it this week. I’ll start by adding the notes to a fresh copy. From there, I’ll work my way through her notes, hopefully, next week.
3. My Dog Story has spent the last 2 months with Callie and her Writing Magic Critique group. It’s been through 4 rounds of critiques and 3 rounds of revisions.
In the first critique Callie suggested a name change. Names are everything in a story, for characters and titles! My own dog gave me this story idea. She was a Border Terrier named Leia, like Princess Leia from Star Wars. Her full name was Leia Millennia Beach, and yes, my kids LOVED Star Wars! They still do.
Princess has been the dog’s name since I wrote the first draft back in 2012. I took a look at names over a couple days. I tried Rascal. Callie didn’t think it worked. I trust her opinions so I looked again. I picked Coco. She loved it! Woohoo!
One of the most unexpected changes happened after I left Princess behind. Princess said arf, arf, but Rascal and Coco went ruff, ruff. I didn’t plan it, but arf felt wrong when I listened/edited. Ruff felt right. Editing is magic because sometimes, characters tell YOU what they want to say. It’s interesting – neither Rascal or Coco could say woof – they’re too small for that sound.
The other big change was in the story mission statement. It helps me focus which road the story and its plot should take. When I wrote there’s a battle going on between Coco and her girl Marlee, it completely changed the plot. I didn’t catch it right away. Callie did! She suggested I try thinking of the story as a battle between these 2 characters. It worked!
I used some of the same elements, but I turned the action into a zigzag (/\/\/\). At the end of one scene Coco’s winning, but Marlee wins the next. The best part of this new dog/girl battle is that I stuck the ending. The most important sentences/paragraphs/pages in any book, is the first, and the last.
Tomorrow – the last manuscript for the challenge, plus 2 more. I started working on them in December. LOL! It’s a good thing I love editing!
4. My Nativity Story had 1 critique, from Rate Your Story (RYS). They gave it a 6 – I wanted a 1, but the comments are more helpful to me than a score.
Their only suggestion – add action. I did. Now I need to find out if it’s enough. How? I’ll send it to Callie’s Writing Magic Critique group and find out. It’s ready to send out, and the dog story is ready for more revision.
The next 2 stories aren’t part of the Agent Audition challenge. They started because I decided to take a class with Callie. I thought I could finish revising my middle grade novel and do the agent audition. Then I came up with a new idea for an early chapter book. Now all I have to do is balance 6 stories?!
5. My Ant Story is 30 chapters long. Last year I finished chapter 26. When I saw this class, I decided to get a running start by going back to Chapter 1 and the revision notes Callie left for each chapter.
I’ll go through those notes, make the corrections, and move forward. I haven’t started yet, but, if I read and revise chapters 1-16 by the end of January I’ll be back on track. Hopefully chapter 30 will be done by the end of February. Fingers crossed!
6. My Zoo Story is a new idea – it’s only a month old! I have the characters, the setting, but no plot – yet! I’m taking my chapter book that’s coming out in March, and moving it to the zoo.
In ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN, Zoe is searching for points for the lake scavenger hunt Mom designed. Can she come up with enough points to beat her older siblings and win the prize?
Zoo Scavenger Hunt Fun already has a problem - Zoe wants to win the hunt. I have the format – 7 chapters with 7 animals. I need to figure out what the three tries will be, how the action will rise/fall, and the animal order. I know that the challenges must grow until that 3rd try/ 6th animal, when Zoe will think winning is impossible.
My plan – to work through Callie’s worksheets. They’ll help me figure out those 3 tries with 7 animals. My goal – to have the story outlined, and the first 3 chapters done by the end of January. Here’s to finding story magic at the zoo!
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!