Monthly Archives: September 2013

Another Piece to the Puzzle?

A trip to Value Village a couple of years ago may have provided another clue as to why certain books work so well, at least for Tommy and Tina.

Be Patient, Little Chick by Claude Clement has been a consistent favorite.

When Tommy was younger, he loved acting out the story again and again. As the “spunky chick,” newly hatched and still wearing part of his shell, he demanded to know the locations of the garden and the great woods. His mother suggested taking things slowly, but he objected, “I already know everything I need to know.”

But a little chick can’t really eat dog bones, fly high, swim like a duck . . . and is more than a little unwise to confront the biggest rooster.

Tommy really enjoyed role playing that part of the story, but he got nervous when I was the big rooster, and very quickly had me revert to being Mother Hen.

Now that they’re six and seven. Tommy and Tina wonder how the little chick knew enough to ask about the garden and the great woods when he was newly hatched. But they still like the story.

I think I may have found a piece of the puzzle, at least for Tommy and Tina–they like stories that inspire them to role play. Now, why do they see some stories as screenplays and not others?

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The Searchland Chronicles: Part Two

Morning, Sept. 23: I Googled She Does Not Fear the Snow by Bobbie Cole. My Wattpad review is back on page one :), followed by my Booksie review and the other person’s Goodreads review.

I’ve just joined and posted a new review of Bobbie’s book. I’ll let you know if it gets approved and how long that takes, and where it shows up in the search.

Morning, Sept. 24 Google yields the same results as yesterday for She Does Not Fear the Snow.

On a whim, I decided to Google my name. The results are quite different from last month’s, when I got a few mentions on page one and two, as did another person with a similar name.

Here’s the current order on page one:

1. my google+ page (nice work, Google!)

2. five images, including one of a friend I share a wordpress blog account with (I’d known about that and had changed the picture); another of Perry Stone of; and one of me when I was an English as a Second Language instructor.

3. my Smashwords biography page

4. my Ezinearticles biography page

5. the Booksie review of Bobbie’s book

6. a possible Twitter account, perhaps belonging to another person with the same name

7. my YouTube page, with my comment about Bobbie’s video at the top

8. my Goodreads page with the two reviews I’ve written

9. a possible LinkedIn account, perhaps belonging to another person with the same name

10. my Wattpad author page

11. people with similar names on

Page two has a few interesting things, including two links to Biblestudyspace, some career info at, a comment on, and Madi Predda’s reblogging of a post at

Please forgive me if this has seemed egotistical–it’s not meant to be! I offer it as a summary of results I’ve obtained within the last month or so by being relatively active on google+, writing book reviews, uploading a free e-book on Smashwords, blogging, and working with Madi Predda.

Perhaps some of these will work for another author who’s working in low- or no-budget conditions.

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Adventures in Platform Building: Another Win-Win

Reviewing Bobbie Cole’s book, She Does Not Fear the Snow, has helped me to develop another strategy for enhancing my online profile.

I am, of course, promoting her book because I feel that it’s a beautiful true story, well worth reading. However, wherever I post a review, I also post a profile for myself with a link to my website and one or both blogs.

I first posted my review on Goodreads, and then posted a different one on Booksie.

Sunday: To my surprise, Google placed the Booksie review above the Goodreads one on the first page.

I then posted the Goodreads review on Wattpad.

Monday: I just Googled her book again, and my reviews were in this order: Wattpad, Booksie and Goodreads.

An experiment: I’m going to post a review on another site, then see what happens. Watch this space!

Tuesday: I’ve just posted a link to the Goodreads review on Bible study space (please scroll down in that site).
Now I’ll Google Bobbie’s book again . . . .

My reviews are in the same order: Wattpad, Booksie and Goodreads. Biblestudyspace does not appear. I’ll check again later. It may have something to do with the fact that Biblestudyspace appears to be a relatively new site. I have read that Google favors sites that have been around for awhile.

Yahoo has my Goodreads review first and my Booksie one farther down the page. The other two are not to be found on the first four pages.

Bing lists my Goodreads review on page one, Booksie on page two, and that’s it for the first four pages.

Wednesday’s Adventures in Searchland:

1. was nothing short of fascinating. I did four searches in a very short period of time. Two turned up my Booksie review followed by someone else’s Goodreads review. The other two turned up Booksie followed by my Goodreads review!

2. On, page one had my Booksie review followed by the “other” person’s Goodreads review.

3. On, page one had my Goodreads review before my Booksie review.

4. had my Goodreads review on page one and my Booksie review on page two.

Please note that I’m simply noting the order of the reviews, not what comes before, after, or between them.

That’s it for now, folks, but I do have another review written, quite different from the last two. Will the next site appear in my search? If so, how long will it stay on page one or two?

Stay tuned!

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Plot and Subplot in Eight Words

Margaret’s top picks:

“Superdog!” exclaims Tina when she sees the cover of Barnaby the Bedbug Detective, by Catherine Stier. Indeed, Barnaby is the first superhero I’ve ever met with a bedbug-bedecked cape.

My granddaughter and I thrill to the story of a too-bouncy-for-a-family shelter mutt who rises from zero to hero after his adoption by Martha and graduation from training school. Alas! When Barnaby sits proudly, head held high, at his discovery of bedbugs in a family’s home, the family doesn’t cheer. Has he done something wrong?

Take your child on Barnaby’s journey from zero to hero, with a brief hiatus back in zeroland, before his “best doggy smile” ever. Enjoy the beautiful artwork by Karen Zapp, whose warm, gentle pictures complement the gentle text, making this a story to enjoy as much as to learn from.
“Do you want to be my friend?” asks the little mouse of a long-tailed creature.

Not really. Turning the page, we see that the tail’s owner is too busy munching grass.

Perhaps the owner of this tail . . . .

Oh no! This tail’s owner is hungry!

What’s interesting about Do You Want to Be My Friend? by Eric Carle is that the pictures are mysterious enough not only for the three and four set, but also for the five and overs. And, of course, the fact that the author has rendered a complete plot and sub-plot in just eight words.

The conclusion is highly satisfactory. It ends with the right word (just one), danger, suspense, and . . . . Oops! No spoilers!
Another winner, but of a very different sort, is The Mitten, a classic tale retold by Jim Aylesworth. I’m not surprised it’s a classic when I see the fascination of the children. The story is simple enough: a boy loses his mitten, which is inhabited by one animal after another until finally the last one causes it to explode. One little boy looks SO serious, I just have to tell the children that the woods are full of places for animals to keep warm in the winter.

The back cover has a recipe for hot cocoa, a nice tie-in with the sub-theme of a grandma who makes cocoa and knits mittens.

My volunteer reading stint at the day care is over for now, as I’ve gotten a very welcome, and enjoyable, part-time job. But I hope to go back and kid-test covers if Coralie and I decide to test another cover for Scissortown. Although I can’t quite put my finger on what I’ve learned at the day care, I know it’s been beneficial as well as fun, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

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Free and Other Strategies

Since embarking on this blog in July, I’ve experimented with various means to create interest in Scissortown, now due to be released in early 2014.

It’s been fun–the Farmers’ Market, blogging, setting up a website, making friends and hopefully creating goodwill with like-minded people on google+, and reading to the day care children. (The last one is more about learning and fun than promo.)

Now, my latest strategy, a free e-book. . . .

How to Prepare Your Young Child for Success in School

I actually wrote it for my English as a Second Language students a few years back, but found that native speakers of English enjoyed it, too. There’s a lot of pretty basic info, but I also uncovered some interesting research that makes me especially glad two of my grandchildren are learning French.

I’m particularly happy with the photos. I spent awhile looking through some highly attractive (and free) stock photos, but decided to go exclusively with ones provided by parents and friends of the children. It seems to fit better with the “very cheap or free ways to help your child” theme of the book.

I’m hoping to use this e-book as a promo tool, as it lists my website and blogs, and I’m quite pleased with the number of downloads I’ve had from Aug. 31 to Sept. 9 (51).

Something else–one of my google+ friends, Madi Predda, is promoting my e-book and plans to promote Scissortown in her “circles”–Europe, and Romanian communities in Canada. Sounds intriguing!

A look at her page:

tells me my book(s) will be in good company!

One more thing–I just googled Scissortown and found myself (and my story) in three places on page two. Until I’d seen page one, I’d never thought of “Scissor Town” as the name of a beauty salon! Wonder if I can get on page one by early next year. . . .

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