This is my last classroom. It was June of 2015. School was almost out for the summer. It was almost out forever.
This is me in that classroom back in 2015. Find the flag, and you’ll find me in the doorway. Looking back, I had no idea what was ahead. I was still a teacher. I believed I would always be a teacher. But, I knew my last teaching license would expire in June of 2019. In four short years.
June of 2019 has come and gone. I didn’t renew my license – I let it go. It was time. I will never again be a teacher. I will never have a class or a classroom again. It makes me a little sad . . .
But – I don’t want to! I don’t want to belong to a class or a classroom any more. Why? I’m having too much fun becoming the new me. Over the last 3 years, I have slowly been changing, like a caterpillar in a cocoon.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how I’ve changed, how I’ve evolved, and where I’m heading.
This is me in the Fall of 2015. I was no longer teaching, but I came back to my old school as a writer. I wasn’t published, but I’d been writing for 8 years. I had something to tell kids about writing, about editing, about failing, and persisting.
In the spring of 2016 I started subbing. It brought in a little money, and it got me back in my comfort zone with teachers and kids. That year I subbed 2-3 days a week.
In the fall of 2016 I decided to volunteer at the Armstrong Museum. I was on my way to becoming a docent, but I stopped. I realized, even retired I had to prioritize my time. I couldn’t do everything. I backed away from becoming a docent, but I still volunteered at the museum. I continued to sub, but only one day a week. I pulled everything back to focus on my writing, to finally write a manuscript that could be published.
I still don’t have a book traditionally published, but now I understand how much goes into it. A manuscript has to be practically perfect to find an agent or a publisher. They invest a tremendous amount of time and money to produce a book. They have to get a return on their investment. I know . . . I just self-published Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. I put in the money and the time, and I’m hoping I can earn my investment back.
I couldn’t have traditionally published it. It takes 2-3 years for that. I started writing in June of 2018. Going traditionally would have meant summer 2020 or 2021. That would have been too late for the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing. Neil’s book birthday was May 17, 2019, giving me 2 months to spare!
So this is me in June 2019, author and publisher! It’s also me, a short term sub! I just applied for my substitute license. It’s going to be back dated to June so that whoever, whatever I become, a small part of me will ALWAYS be a teacher. I don’t think I could ever turn away from it, and frankly I don’t want to. Being a teacher helps me to see the world the way kids do, and it helps me write the stories they need and want.
So here’s to the next frontier . . . to Rinda Beach as substitute teacher, writer, author, and publisher! I wonder where I’ll be in five years when I renew that substitute teacher license again.
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!
Part 1 -- How long did it take Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence?
7 days 17 days 27 days
The answer: 17
Thomas began drafting the Declaration on June 11 and finished on June 28, 1776. He had a few books and pamphlets to help him.
The Declaration was revised by members of Congress like Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, and it was adopted on July 4, 1776, less than a month after Jefferson started writing it.
Part 2— Which two signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence later became president?
Thomas Jefferson/George Washington
John Adams/ Thomas Jefferson
James Madison/ Thomas Jefferson
George Washington/ James Madison
And the answer is . . .
Did you guess right?
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
56 men signed the Declaration of Independence, but only 2 became president. Most people think George Washington was a signer, but he was kind of busy . . . he was defending New York City from the British. Instead he followed John Hancock’s instructions and read it to the Continental Army on July 9th, just 5 days later.
James Madison wasn’t part of the Continental Congress in 1776. He was just 25, and a member of the Virginia state legislature. Madison became a delegate 4 years later. At age 29, he was the youngest delegate and later became one of our founding fathers.
John Adams signed on the right side of the Declaration. He became our second president, serving one term, from 1797-1801. John was a lawyer, diplomat, and political theorist. He was also known for his diary and correspondence, especially with his wife Abigail.
Thomas Jefferson signed in the middle, five from the bottom. He was John Adams vice president and then our third president. He served two terms from 1801-1809. He advocated for democracy, republicanism, and individual rights for our country.
More Info -- en.wikipedia.org
Part 3 – Final question — Which country hosts the biggest 4th of July celebrations outside of the USA?
Argentina Australia Denmark Ireland.
None of these felt right, but the answer is . . . Denmark!
The Rebildfesten or Rebild Festival started with a Danish chemist from Illinois, Max Henius. He started a group who bought a patch of land that became Denmark’s first national park. They donated it to Denmark’s king who promised that it would always be a place to celebrate America’s Independence. Many Danish-Americans still return to celebrate our 4th of July in Denmark.
Here’s the link for this year’s festival: https://www.rebildfesten.dk/rebild-festival-2019
Here it is! Times three!
A week ago I was offered the Liebster Award by one of my On the Scene Partners, Jarm Del Boccio. Jarm writes in a way that changes hearts. Her debut book is also titled THE HEART CHANGER. Here’s the link to her blog: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/blog. Thanks, Jarm!
I blog across a week, and I’m ready to start a new one. I was looking for something that inspired me. The Leibster is a perfect fit! Jarm wrote that the award has been around for a while, evolving as it’s passed from writer to writer. If you’d like to read how it started, please click on wordingwell.com. I used three of Jarm’s images and found two more.
So, why is there an award? To share blogs and bloggers you admire. Jarm said “Liebe” is the German word for love. So like Jarm, I want to share my love of words and blogs by introducing you to a few new ones.
Here are the rules that Jarm gave me. BTW, the rules change the same way words change when you play telephone. By the time the message gets to the end of the line, it’s morphed into something new, something fun.
Here’s the Leibster Award rules, as of tonight:
Here are my fellow nominees. Jarm went with a heart theme, and I’m honored to be in this company!
Vivian Kirkfield — for her giving heart. She always seeks to encourage others on her blog or in person.
Edie Melson — for her helping heart — offering a variety of tips for writers. I look forward to her posts every day.
Betsy de Cruz — who has a heart for God’s Word. You will be mightily encouraged by her newsletters and latest book.
Rinda Beach — a new author friend to has a love for life and enthusiasm to spare! (Wow! That’s me! Thanks Jarm!
Rachel Dodge — who has a heart for Jane Austen as I do, but knows much more about her since she’s done copious research on her life and novels.
Here are Jarm’s questions, and my answers . . .
1. Give us a link to your favorite post of all time (on your blog, of course).
I picked this one. It’s about the grandmother I’m named after. She died when my mother was two, way before I was born.
2. Which book do YOU wish you had written?
I loved this book and gave it a great review. I lost my dad to Alzheimer’s. My favorite line is “Dads get it. They just get it.” My dad did, and I’m grateful!
Link : http://www.rindabeach.com/my-reads/review-of-dad-and-the-dinosaur
3. If you could jump into any novel, and become a character, which one would it be?
I’d leap into any Harry Potter book. J.K. Rowling is brilliant! I’d be happy to be either Harry or Hermione, but I’m probably more like Hermione with all her book knowledge and rule-following. It’s probably the teacher/principal’s daughter in me.
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why? (This counts as one question 😊)
I’m lucky . . . we bought a house in my favorite place, Norris Lake. This is the picture from my window – the lake and the mountains. It’s gorgeous. I love to travel, but coming home is even better.
5. If you were on a stranded island, which food could you not live without?
CHOCOLATE! I love chocolate! It’s good for your endorphins, at least that’s what they say, and I’m happy to believe them!
6. If you were driven from your home, and had five minutes to pack, what would you take? (This is a question I asked at my book signing, since it relates to a scene at the beginning of my novel).
I’d grab my kindle and my purse. That’s all I need. With my kindle I have hundreds of books at my fingertips. With my purse I can buy anything else I need. I’m ready for adventure!
I hope you enjoyed reading my post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now it’s time to share the Liebster and pay it forward. I’d like to nominate the following bloggers — if you feel overwhelmed and not able to contribute, no problem. Let me know in the comments below, and share a link to one of your favorite blogs:
Donna L. Martin
https://storycatcherpublishing.com/ She puts out 5 different blogs a week, and I love to read each one.
Jamie Sumner -- https://mailchi.mp/c536e9e86c58/readlaughlisten-gives-a-special-needs-shout-out?e=d96357bd8a Everyone needs to read, laugh, and listen!
June McCrary Jacobs -- https://authorjunemccraryjacobs.blogspot.com/ I’m a big fan of her Middle Grade Mondays and Friday Fiction Features.
Ladies, here are your questions:
1. Share the link to your favorite post from your blog.
2. What is your favorite color, and why?
3. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go, and why?
4. Who is your favorite author, and why?
5. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
6. Which fictional character are you most like? How are you similar? Different?
BTW Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream has 5 reviews so far on Amazon. Could you help me get into double digits? If you’ve read Neil’s story and can give me an honest review on Amazon (most important), Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble , I’d appreciate it. You can copy and paste the same review to each site. Easy-peasy!
The Department of Defense buys the most explosives in the US. Who’s in second place? Take your best guess!
Is it . . .
And the answer is . . .
The Magic Kingdom! Disney World!
I know! I thought it’d be NASA, but I forgot that fireworks are made from gunpowder, and Disney puts on a show every night on their Main Street. They also do other pyrotechnic shows (fireworks).They’re known world-wide for them!
Check the link below for more fun facts about Disney World. My favorite - Tinker Bell flies down 750 feet from the Cinderella Castle to Tomorrowland. That’s the signal to light up those fireworks.
Link for more information: www.southernliving.com
My Source: https://quizzclub.com/games/bonus/who-is-the-second-largest-purchaser-of-explosives-in-the-united-states-after-the-department-of-defense/answer/54914/
I have been a reader forever. I started with picture book favorites like The Snowy Day and Clifford the Big Red Dog. I moved onto Nancy Drew and The Little House books. I loved Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. I followed the Yellow Brick Road through Oz, the whole series!
The best part about books – they took me to places I could never visit. They introduced me to people I could never meet. My favorite books were biographies, historical fiction, and fantasy.
I became a teacher because I wanted to help kids learn to read. I bought picture books from Judith Viorst and Jan Brett. I found chapter books like Horrible Harry, Magic Treehouse, and Magic School Bus. I had over 15 tubs of books when I retired.
I became a writer because a bat found me, and I thought it was a good story. I quickly discovered writing was harder than telling a story to my class. I took that first story to Highlights. My reader said it was good garbage, in a kinder way. Good gave me hope. There was something there, but garbage told me I had a lot of work ahead and a lot to learn.
So how did I get better? I read and read and read. Then I picked my top ten books and they became my teachers. I also took classes with “real” authors who showed me my mistakes, and what was right.
I still read as a writer – to learn how to get better, to keep up with the trends in children’s literature.
But I also read for fun. I still love historical fiction and fantasy. If you combine them, you get my favorite genre – time travel,
Keep your eyes open! My next three My Read reviews are all time travel stories for kids. I absolutely love all three!
I usually avoid having my picture taken but the last couple months I’ve grinned and said ‘cheese.’
This is me at the Rose Blenn Literary Festival. Neil wasn’t out yet, but my critique partners talked me into going. They said it was good practice for the future. They were right!
You can’t see Debbie and Rick, but Donna’s behind me, to the left of the Story Catcher Publishing sign. She’s been my self-publishing guru. I couldn’t have made this journey without her advice!
This is me at the Marvelous Midwest SCBWI conference. I’m with my friend and conference roommate, Aileen. Without her, Neil might never have been published.
In November I was ready to quit. Then I went to the Helen Hunt Circle to talk about being a writer. I told them about losing my 3rd illustrator. Those ladies wouldn’t let me give up. Before I left, they gave me three names.
I also decided to reach out to Aileen. She had an illustrator she thought would be great, It was Cole Roberts, and that’s how I met my illustrator.
These pictures came from that same SCBWI conference in early May. I took my proof of Neil so I could get pictures with a few writing friends, BUT I couldn’t share them.
Why not? Purdue has a trademark on Neil’s name and his image. I found out in early April that I had to get permission from Purdue to use them in my book. Without that permission, I couldn’t sell my book, and I couldn’t share these pictures with you.
BUT I saved them, and now I CAN share them. The first friend is Jarm. She’s in my debut group, On the Scene in 2019. Her debut book, THE HEART CHANGER, was for sale at the conference bookstore. She didn’t have a copy so she used her tablet. I think it’s a great photo!
The second friend is Shirin. I met her last year in The Children’s Book Academy class, the 12 x 12 writing group, and my Writing Magic critique group. I hadn’t met either Jarm or Sharin in person before, but it was great to meet both of them!
Donna, Charlotte, Carolyn K, Carolyn C, Alex, Mira, Callie, Melissa, Candice, Candace, Sandra, Theresa, Nancy, Patricia, Karen, and Shirin. They are my writing community, and my book is better because they commented on what to keep, what to change, and what to delete.
It meant the world that two of my school friends made time to see me and my book. I’ve known Laura and Fran since I moved into Elida Elementary back in 1999. Fran is in the first picture. She was the school secretary, and she took great care of me and my students. Thanks, Fran!
The second is one of my 2nd grade teaching friends, Laura. I remember the 1st time I met her . . . she smacked me/my arm. I was so shocked! Normally that’s not how you make friends, but with Laura it was like becoming an honorary sister.
I owe another friend an apology. Becky came down to Wapak, and I forgot to get a picture. I’m so sorry! Becky taught me how to be a teacher back in 1983 when I was brand-new. She was one of my mentors, and I’m grateful for everything she taught me. Thanks, Becky!
Here are a few more shots from this month’s Meet the Author/book signings. Thanks to my hosts at the Wapakoneta library, Riverside Art Center, and Casa Chic. They welcomed me in and made each event special.They made sure I left with photo memories that included a smile. I am grateful to them for the opportunity to share NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
An Interview with Susan Edwards Richmond
Meet Susan Edwards Richmond! She was a California girl till age 4 when she moved to upstate New York. That’s where she discovered woodlands, mountains, and rivers. It awakened a lifelong love of nature. Susan grew up to become a teacher and curriculum director. Now she has the perfect job – working in a wildlife sanctuary in a nature-based preschool. For her debut picture book Susan took her love of nature and translated it into a book about her annual adventure, The Christmas Bird Count with the Audubon Society.
Now Susan and her husband live west of Boston, Massachusetts. They have 2 adult daughters. Susan is a published poet and member of an SCBWI critique group that she adores. There’s nothing like having someone you trust tell you what they love, but I think it’s more important to have someone tactfully tell you what isn’t working or doesn’t make sense.
I love Susan’s cover! I can’t wait to follow Ava when she gets to be a citizen scientist for the annual Christmas Bird Count. She has a huge job, using her eyes, ears, and binoculars to identify, count, and tally each bird she sees along the way. I can’t wait to see what Ava spots. Go, Ava, go!
Susan’s Interview Link:
Question 1 - Which sea creature evaporates in sunlight?
That’s right! One of these animals disintegrates in the afternoon sun. The answer: Jellyfish
Did you guess right? Jellyfish might look scary. They might shock you, literally. But washed up on the beach, they’re helpless. Why? How? Jellyfish are 98% water. If they wash up on the beach, they’ll probably evaporate in a few hours, leaving hardly a trace behind.
Question 2- Caterpillars must melt into a liquid before they can change into a moth . . . True or False?
TRUE! I guessed right! That’s because I used to watch tiny caterpillars make cocoons, then hatch into butterflies. They always left some red liquid behind. I always wondered why. Thanks to this link I now understand: https://quizzclub.com/games/bonus/caterpillars-completely-liquify-as-they-transform-into-moths/answer/1932/
Inside the chrysalis the caterpillar melts down. Really! As its body melts, it releases enzymes. Those enzymes change most of the old body into a rich caterpillar soup. What’s left of the caterpillar feeds on that soup and grows into a brand-new butterfly.
Question 3- How does a butterfly taste its food?
With its mouth feet wings eyes
The answer: their feet. EWWWW! I can’t imagine tasting anything with my stinky smelly feet. YUCK! But butterflies have taste sensors in their feet so they taste a flower by stepping on it.
Butterflies don’t have mouths to bite or chew with. Instead they have a proboscis. I always thought of it as a tongue, but it’s not. It’s more like an elephant’s trunk, or a pig’s snout, or human straws. It’s a great way to drink your lunch, but it’s a terrible way to taste it. The nectar would be flavor-LESS!
More Info: biointerestingfacts.blogspot.com
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!